Ruddy Darter Dragonfly
The ruddy darter dragonfly has a wingspan of up to 6 cm. The head, thorax and abdomen of the male are a vivid red colour and the slightly smaller female is a golden-yellow colour with black markings. The all-black legs of the ruddy darter distinguish it from other very similar common darters. The ruddy darter dragonfly can be found between the months of July and November. Mating takes place on the wing, with the coupled pair performing a dipping flight over the water. The female jettisons her fertilised eggs on the surface of the water by alternating movements of the abdomen. The male will hover nearby during this period and protect the female by driving off any approaching males. The larvae spend the year beneath the surface of the water before emerging and pupating into adults. The ruddy darter dragonfly is to be found in temperate regions throughout Europe, as Far East as Siberia and as far south as the northern Sahara. Its conservation status is regarded as secure, and indeed numbers seem to be increasing in some locations such as central England. It tends to prefer quiet bodies of water that feature semiaquatic vegetation such as rushes and reeds.