Black darter

Black Darter

©Philip Precey

Black darter

Scientific name: Sympetrum danae
The Black darter is a black, narrow-bodied dragonfly that can be seen throughout summer and autumn. It is hovers around damp moors, heaths and bogs, darting out to surprise its prey.

Species information


Length: 2.9-3.4cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to October


The Black darter is a small, narrow-bodied dragonfly that is on the wing from June to October. This is a common dragonfly of moorlands, heaths and bogs. As their name suggests, Black darters have a darting and somewhat skittish flight, moving forward suddenly from a hovering position to catch their insect-prey.

How to identify

The Black darter is the only small dragonfly that is almost entirely black. Males are black with dark yellow spots along the sides, while females and juveniles are brownish-yellow.


Found in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Northern England and on heaths in Southern England.

Did you know?

The Black darter is the UK's smallest resident dragonfly.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.