Description male female larva Irish distribution

Sympetrum sanguineum

Sympetrum sanguineum (Muller, 1764)


Common name: Ruddy Darter

Preferred environment: shallow well-vegetated lakes and ponds often in woodland. In Ireland associated with pools in fens and cutover bogs, small base-rich mesotrophic lakes and turlough-like lakes.

Flight period: mid June to mid October. In Ireland early June to mid September.

Adult habitat and habits: adults perch on edge of open spaces when feeding. Mature males occupy perches near breeding sites and defend small area around them. Perches often changed if no females encountered. Females are intercepted as they approach breeding sites and taken in tandem by males to bushes for copulation.

Oviposition site and behaviour: females oviposit usually when in tandem with male, over open water, clumps of plants or exposed muddy margins by dipping abdomen on water surface to wash off batches of eggs.

Larval habitat and habits: eggs either hatch within a few days of laying, or if laid late in season eggs will diapause until spring. Larval development takes one year. Larvae live amongst roots of aquatic plants including Typha and Equisetum.

Emergence behaviour: on vertical plant stems in early morning.

Range: southern and central Europe to southern most Fennoscandia, and to western Siberia. Absent from most of Mediterranean islands, southernmost Iberia and Italy. Very local in north Africa. In Ireland found as far north as Lough Neagh but principally in Midlands and Burren.

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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