Description male female larva Irish distribution

Sympetrum striolatum

Sympetrum striolatum (Charpentier, 1840)


Common name: Common Darter

Preferred environment: a generalist lowland species found in small shallow pools and sheltered lakes. Rapidly colonises newly created sites. Can tolerate brackish water but avoids heavily shaded, densely vegetated and highly eutrophic sites.

Flight period: mid May to November according to locality; in Ireland June to October.

Adult habitat and habits: a highly mobile species. At breeding sites males occupy perches on ground or on low perch and aggressively chase rival males. Unattached females are grasped and is taken to perch for copulation.

Oviposition site and behaviour: oviposition occurs with pair in tandem. Male controls behaviour and site selection when in tandem. Male will hover and drop causing female abdomen to touch water surface. Females will also oviposit alone in flight.

Larval habitat and habits: larvae stay amongst vegetation. Larval development is completed in one year.

Range: southern and central Europe to central Scandinavia, northern Africa, across Asia to Japan. Absent from northern Scandinavia. Recorded throughout Ireland including many offshore islands.

Determination of adults: species is keyed and diagnostic characters are figured in Askew (1988); mature adults are illustrated in colour in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997).

Determination of larvae: keys to mature larvae in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997).


Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 2). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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