This tiny late summer darter is consistently the last of the Gateshead resident 16 to be sighted, usually not being recorded 'til late Aug/early Sept (mostly due to our awful late summer weather).
Not abundant anywhere, the boggy ponds at Kibblesworth, Burdon Moor and Stargate are the best places to look for them. Kibblesworth and Burdon Moor are ideal breeding sites, and though the boggy pond at Stargate looks good, there's no proof of breeding here as only one or two mature males are ever seen annually, perhaps just wanderers as they are very much a wandering species, with individuals even recorded at Far Pasture on a couple of occasions.
|Two views of a mature male Black Darter in his prime, signified by the|
bright yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen
|This more mature specimen has lost the bright yellow markings on the|
abdomen, now covered by a grey pruinescence.
|Males are non-territorial. Their flights are usually brief, and they are mostly|
found perched on stems of marginal vegetation, or basking on rocks, bare
ground or even wooden benches (at Cragside especially)
|Even on this recently emerged specimen, the black triangle is |
visible on the thorax just below the head.
|The colouring on this recently emerged female is only slightly|
paler than when mature, but the all white pterostigma
are a giveaway to its age.
In this way pairs are usually formed away from water and the tandem pair will go to the breeding site for ovipositing.