Both sexes have long black legs and pterostigmata and a very broad base of the hindwing.
Black Darter Physical Description
The Black Meadowhawk’s thorax has yellow sides separated by a bold black panel in which are three yellow spots, resembling a Highland Darter.
The male species has a mainly black thorax and abdomen which has small yellow marks on the side that darken with age. The wings are extremely clear.
The female has black legs and brown eyes. The abdomen is mainly yellow, also becoming browner with age. Unlike the males’ wings, the females’ have tiny yellow dots at the wing bases.
These insects reside in acidic shallow pools, lake margins and ditches in lowland heath and moorland bogs, usually with bog-mosses and rushes.
Black Darter Reproduction
The female lays eggs in flight by dipping the tip of the abdomen into the water. The eggs hatch the following spring and the larvae develop very rapidly, emerging after as little as two months.
The male frequently basks in the sun, on open ground and are not territorial, but actively seek out females.
Although not as colorful as some other dragonflies, it is a lovely dragonfly to watch.
Black Darter Behavior
Their flight is a little skittish, and they often fly away as you approach, but may sometimes be in a friendly mood and let you get very close. Sometimes they may even land on an observer’s hand.
In the British Isles, this dragonfly is very locally distributed in the lowlands but more widespread in the northwest and Ireland. It is often very abundant which perhaps triggers dispersal.
Records from the south coast suggest that dragonfly immigration from the main continent does occur.
Its main threats are development, drainage, agriculture, and peat extraction.