Common darter

Sympetrum striolatum


The common darter is a small, narrow-bodied dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June right through to October, or even November in a warm autumn. This is a very common dragonfly, breeding in all sorts of waterbodies from ponds and ditches to rivers and lakes. As their name suggests, common darters dart forward suddenly from a hovering position to catch their insect-prey. They then take their catch to a favoured perch to eat it.

How to identify

Male common darters are bright red while the females and immature adults are golden-brown. There are several similar-looking red darters which can be very difficult to tell apart.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden with plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Common darter
Latin name
Sympetrum striolatum
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 3.8-4.3cm
Conservation status