Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Species
Male Ruddy Darter. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon. Approx 3.25x lifesize.
Male. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon., on August 10th 2013.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 2.25x life size. Click image for larger version.)
Male Ruddy Darter. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on July 24th 2011. Approx 3.25x lifesize.
Male side view. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on July 24th 2011.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 2.25x life size. Click image for larger version.)
Female Ruddy Darter. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on July 2nd 2011. Approx 3.25x lifesize.
Female. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on July 2nd 2011.
(1/320th sec at f14. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version.)
Female Ruddy Darter. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on July 2nd 2011. Approx 3.25x lifesize.
Female side view. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on July 2nd 2011.
(1/320th sec at f14. Approx 2x life size. Click image for larger version.)
Ruddy Darter mating wheel. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on July 23rd 2016. Approx 3x lifesize.
Mating wheel. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on July 23rd 2016.
(1/500th sec at f14. Approx 1.75x life size. Click image for larger version.)

© David Hastings

Description

Wing span: 46 - 61 mm; Body length: 34 - 39 mm
 
This species has entirely black legs. An intense orange colouration can be seen at the very base of the wings. The pterostigma is brown. There are usually two prominent black marks on S8 and S9. The males become blood-red with maturity with a red frons and red-brown thorax. There is a very noticeable constriction of the abdomen around S4, giving a club-shaped appearence. Females have a ochre yellow abdomen and thorax.
 
It is most common in southern and eastern England, but is spreading north and westwards. It is quite widespread in Ireland.
 
It favours well-vegetated ponds, lakes, ditches and canals, often with adjacent woodland. It will tolerate acidic and brackish water.
 
The large eggs are laid in vegetation or damp mud, either with the pair in tandem, or with the male in close attendance. They only hatch when covered with water. Larval development is rapid and adults usually emerge after a year. The main flight period is June and July, but individuals can persist into November.
 
Territories are usually established slightly back from the water's edge. Mating lasts a few minutes and usually occurs while perched and away from water.
 
A locally common species.
 

Sightings

13-Sep-2017:Radley Lakes, Oxon(8m,2f)
06-Sep-2017:Folly Park, Faringdon, Oxon(1)
26-Aug-2017:Otmoor, Oxon(10+)
16-Aug-2017:Otmoor, Oxon(13+)
03-Aug-2017:Otmoor, Oxon(6)
01-Jul-2017:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(3)
15-Jun-2017:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(1ten)

18-Sep-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(1)
11-Sep-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(3)
14-Aug-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(10+)
07-Aug-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
31-Jul-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(15+)
23-Jul-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(30+)
26-Jun-2016:Otmoor, Oxon(9+)

27-Sep-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(2)
12-Sep-2015:Radley Lakes, Oxon(2)
02-Aug-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(22)
04-Jul-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(30+)
04-Jul-2015:Calvert Jubilee, Oxon(1)
03-Jul-2015:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(2)
03-Jul-2015:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(1)
21-Jun-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(14 imm.)

28-Sep-2014:Radley Lakes, Oxon(3+)
14-Sep-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(3)
13-Sep-2014:Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon(1)
28-Aug-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(20+)
03-Aug-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
20-Jul-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
20-Jul-2014:Finemere Wood, Bucks(2)
06-Jul-2014:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(25+)
30-Jun-2014:Tophill Low, E. Yorks(1)
21-Jun-2014:Zhelezhari, Bulgaria
15-Jun-2014:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(3 ten)

22-Sep-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(5m)
26-Aug-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(50+)
10-Aug-2013:Otmoor, Oxon(3)
10-Aug-2013:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(1)
28-Jul-2013:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(12+)