The commonest darter species of acid/moorland habitats. The mature male is distinctively almost wholly black, except for some yellow on the sides of the thorax and near the base and tip of the abdomen. Immatures and females are predominantly a golden yellow with black on the sides. A dark triangle on top of the thorax is a useful diagnostic feature for the species. The males darken as they mature, concealing most of these markings. The legs are solid black, as in the Ruddy Darter, and the males have a ‘waisted’ abdomen.
The species may occur in considerable abundance at favoured sites, which often have Juncus-margined pools. Like other darters, it frequently perches. Pairs usually remain ‘in tandem’ to lay eggs over shallow water.
This is a summer species, usually emerging from mid July onwards and remaining on the wing until October. It is widespread in Cumbria, and may occur at moorland sites up to about 350 metres.
Photo: mating pair - Stephen Hewitt
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