BruceH's picture

Southern Darter

Observed: 14th October 2011 By: BruceHBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in Invertebrates
Southern Darter - Sympetrum meridionale 14-10-2011 09-30-08
Southern Darter - Sympetrum meridionale 14-10-2011 09-30-08 1
Species interactions

No interactions present.


BruceH's picture

Colour of legs

I was lucky enough to get a further 4 photos of this dragonfly, and they are now attached.

I identified this insect as a S.meridionale rather than S.striolatum largely due to the predominance of yellow on the legs. Perhaps these additional pictures can help in final ID.

I had hoped I was getting better at this too!:-(


RoyW's picture

Sympetrum species!

The legs do look very yellow, and the overall impression is of a very plain dragonfly - both of which support the idea that it is a Southern Darter.

Old darters do sometimes become very plain though, often to the point where they 'lose' markings that would other wise help with the ID! The legs are also perhaps not yellow enough (in views from behind they appear black on both edges, while the only back that tends to be visible on Southern Darter tends to be on the inside of the legs -generally only clearly visible from the front).
The colour of the pterostigma can sometimes be useful (though not diagnostic) when separating theses species - usually pale in Southern, darker in Common. These would usually be expected to darken with age, so if it is a Southern the dark centres may just be due to age(you are correct to say that it is a female, and the fact that it has aquired some red colouration is a sign of aging).

To be honest, I'm going to have to say that I'm not certain which species this is - I think that the shape of the vulval scale would have been the best confirmation of ID for this individual (and although I think it might be visible in the seccond photo, I can't be certain)!

Draters* can be tricky at the best of times - and individuals showing signs of aging are sometimes best left unidentified unless they can be examined "in the hand".

*I was going to correct this typo, but as the dictionary defines "drat" as a slang exclamation of annoyance it somehow seems appropriate for this group of dragonflies!

BruceH's picture

Sympetrum ssp "dratum"

Thanks Roy for this wonderful help. It really brings into focus the sometime difficulty in identifying some species.

As matter of iSpot formality, having clicked and agreed with your suggestion of leaving it identified to genus level do I need to do anything else?


RoyW's picture

Ispot formality.

There's not really anything else that you can do - neither of us can remove the IDs that we have previously posted (they stay to show the process that led to the eventual ID - as do comments, but the comments can be edited, at least up to a time limit).

If you have 'agreed' with an earlier ID, it makes sense to remove your agreement when agreeing to a later one that is different, but you can't remove 'agreement' from an ID you posted - perhaps a potential future change for Ispot (I'll suggest it!).