Featured on October 21. 2011 (group Ex close up.
The Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a dragonfly of the genus Sympetrum. It is a common species in southern Europe and from the 1990s onwards has increasingly been found in northwest Europe, including Britain and Ireland. Its name is sometimes spelt fonscolombei instead of fonscolombii but Askew (2004) gives the latter as the correct spelling. There is genetic and behavioural evidence that S. fonscolombii is not closely related to the other members of the Sympetrum genus and will at some time in the future be removed from this genus.
S. fonscolombii is similar to other Sympetrum species but a good view with binoculars should give a positive identification, especially with a male. Males have a red abdomen, redder than many other Sympetrum species. The wings have red veins and the wing bases of the hind-wings are yellow. The pterostigma are pale with a border of black veins and the underside of the eye is blue/grey. The female is similar but the abdomen is yellow, not red, and the wings have yellow veins, not red veins as found in the males. The legs of both sexes are mostly black with some yellow. Immature males are like females but often with more red.
Male S. fonscolombii can be mistaken for Crocothemis erythraea as both are very red dragonflies with yellow bases to the wings, red veins and pale pterostigma. However C. erythraea has no black on the legs, a broader body and no black on the head. Also C. erythraea females do not oviposit in tandem. The jizz of these two species is different and with some experience are easy to tell apart.