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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 5:29 EDT

Broad-Bodied Darter, Libellula depressa

The broad-bodied darter (Libellula depressa), also known as the broad-bodied chaser, is a species of dragonfly that can be found in Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Its range includes southern areas of Finland, Scotland, and Sweden, and Mediterranean islands like Sicily and Corsica. It prefers to reside near still ponds and lakes in vegetated and sunny areas. This species can often be seen away from water sources and is very adaptable to new habitats.

The broad-bodied darter holds a wide, flat abdomen and an average wingspan of up to 2.7 inches. The abdomen is brown with yellow markings in both males and females, but males can hold blue markings on the abdomen. The fore wings and hind wings have dark markings that occur at the base.

The broad-bodied darter is active between the months of April and September, but it is most often seen between May and June. It will fly quickly and sporadically above the water, defending its territory and often returning to rest in one area of that territory. Once a female flies into a male’s territory, he will grab her and quickly mate with her, detaching in less than a minute. After breeding, females will leave a male’s territory and find a suitable place to lay her eggs. These sites most often occur over areas with abundant underwater vegetation, where females will hover to deposit the eggs. After four to five weeks, the eggs will hatch and the resulting larvae will develop over the next one to two years. Once the larvae have developed enough, they will emerge from the water and develop on land for up to fifteen more days.

Image Caption: Broad-bodied Darter. Credit: Waugsberg/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Broad-Bodied Darter Libellula depressa