martinjohnbishop's picture

Sympetrum fonscolombii, Monte Falo'

Observed: 27th August 2009 By: martinjohnbishopInvertebrates expert
Species interactions

No interactions present.


chrisbrooks's picture

ID Comment

The male has red in its wings, hence the name. The female however replaces this with a yellow colouring. Just to confirm by "blue eye" I mean a blue pigmentation in the lower half of the eye which is more prominent in the male. In addition the wide antehumeral stripe is diagnostic.

RoyW's picture

Blue eye underside is diagnostic for European Sympetrum darters.

No other member of the Sympetrum family that is found in Europe has the blue on the eyes - although confusion with Trimthemis and Crocothemis species (which are both sometimes called darters) is still possible as these can have blue lower/rear eyes.
The pterostigma (pale with a thick black border at the front and back) is also a useful feature - the antehumeral stripes are less useful in my opinion.

chrisbrooks's picture

Expert agreement

Hi Martin, I think we are agreed that this is a Red-veined Darter. This is totally your choice but in order to get it correctly aligned with other sightings on the iSpot carousel you will have to agree with the identification. Nice image by the way and you've maintained a wide depth of field. Normally images from this angle would lose focus on the wing tips, regards Chris

martinjohnbishop's picture

Yes, I should have done that before

The image is somewhat cropped (about half) which explains the depth of field.

chrisbrooks's picture


Cropping is a technique which some do not like; however if you avoid over cropping then it's acceptable in my book. Cropping can tidy up the image and also obtain a frame filling image from species that you cannot get near. Thanks Chris

martinjohnbishop's picture

Exactly so

The focal length of my lens (100mm) was not long enough and if I had gone any nearer I might not have got any shot at all. I have effectively reduced my sensor size from 35mm to APS-C and increased the focal length of my lens to 150mm.


People who object to cropping may not understand the content of this article, which is quite complicated and not entirely intuitive. "We can take an essentially identical photograph with any sensor size by scaling the focal length, the f-number, and the ISO sensitivity."

RoyW's picture

Cropping in wildlife photography.

I'll never understand why people object to cropping, particularly for wildlife photography. The same goes for post processing adjusting exposure etc.

I can understand that it obviously takes more skill to get a photo that is perfectly framed and exposed straight from the camera, but there is nothing wrong with deliberately leaving space around the subject so that a single photo can be cropped in a variety of ways (or cropping because it was not possible to get close enough for some reason). Deliberately under exposing, with the intention of correcting the exposure later on the PC is also something I regularly do, and is the best way of preventing 'blown' highlights when photographing pale dragonflies in bright sunlight - this isn't cheating, it is making the best use of the equipment to give the best final result!

The images produced by modern digital cameras are usually more than adequate to allow for a fair amount of cropping (even if you want quite a large print) so why not make use of this if you want to?