For Ireland – Locally common and widespread. A late flying species which can be seen from July to the end of October. This small darter is found on heaths and lowland. It is rare in upland sites. The recorded distribution indicates it is absent from most of the south and east and strangely also there are few records from the Irish midlands and south west.
Mature males are the only black darter to occur in Ireland and are therefore easy to identify. The emerald dragonflies, Cordulia aenea and Somatochlora arctica can sometimes look blackish but they can easily be distinguished by their behaviour, emeralds rarely perch and when they do they hang from vegetation rather than perching on it. Females and immature males are similar to other Darters but are relatively smaller, with all-black legs, a black triangle on top of the thorax and a black stripe with a row of three yellow spots on it on the side of the thorax.
KEY IDENTIFICATION FEATURES
small dark species with black legs and (in mature specimens) pterostigma in both sexes
in immature specimens of both sexes the pterostigma is pale with a black outer margin
mature males have waisted, black abdomen with yellow spots on sides
females dull brown with black markings on thorax and yellow tint to base of wings
immature males bright golden yellow