All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

A Species Narraive by Ken Crick


Welcome to my new style narrative, the content of which has been kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick. The narrative is intended to give an insight into the life cycle and characteristics of the featured species.

Size: - Approximate Length 34m - Wing Span 55mm
Male: - The male (see above) has a uniformly brown thorax with coal black legs. A small saffron coloured area is to be found at the root of each wing. The post office box red abdomen is waisted across segments 4 to 7. On the upper surface of abdominal segments 8 & 9 is a broad broken black stripe.

The long black flank markings of segment 7 are visible from above, combined with the marks on segment 8 and 9; they appear as a stylized mask, two eyes a nose and mouth.
Female: - The female (see below) has all black legs which are diagnostic when distinguishing between Common and Ruddy Darter females. This female also lacks the prominent vulvar scale bridging the abdominal joint at segment 8 & 9. The saffron colour at the wing roots mimics the male.


Status: - Where found, it can be locally common. In England it occurs mainly east of the Bristol Channel and south of the Humber Estuary.

Habitat: - It has a preference for shallow nutrient rich still and ephemeral water bodies which possess an abundance of emergent vegetation. It will tolerate the brackish conditions found in coastal ditches and pools.

Flight period: - Late June to the end of October.

General: - Both sexes can be found well away from water, perched on suitably high vegetation, from which they hunt for food. It is unclear if males are truly territorial but they do have a comfort zone, which if intruded upon will stimulate an aggressive response. Coupling usually takes place at a suitable breeding site. Copulation is fairly rapid and in vegetation some way from the waters edge.

The laying of eggs generally takes place in tandem with the male selecting the oviposition site usually close to shaded vegetation.

The Narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

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