Black Darter, Sympetrum danae

The black darter (Sympetrum danae), also known as the black meadowhawk, is a species of dragonfly that can be found in Asia, North America, and northern areas of Europe. Unlike other species of dragonfly, which can be found in a variety of habitats, this species is only found near lowland bogs and acidic shallow pools and lakes.

Both male and female black darters have black legs and thoraxes with yellow sides and a thick, black stripe separating the sides. Males are almost all black in color with small yellow markings that occur along the sides and fade as they mature. Females hold a yellow abdomen that turns brown as they mature, as well as yellow markings at the base of the wings.

Male black darters can often be seen resting in the sun or chasing after females, although they are not territorial. After breeding, females will lay eggs by flying low to the water and dipping their abdomens into the water. Once the eggs hatch during the spring, the resulting aquatic larvae will develop in about two months. This species is startled easily, but will sometimes allow observers to approach. It is threatened by drainage development and agricultural practices. The black darter does not appear on the IUCN Red List because it has not been evaluated.

Image Caption: Black Darter, Sympetrum danae. Credit: bohringer friedrich/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)