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Monday, 30 June 2014

Ruddy Darters (copula with Common?!) plus Red-veined Darter sightings at Kenfig

© D.G. Carrington
I received news from David Carrington today of Ruddy Darters and at least 1 Red-veined Darter on the wing at Kenfig NNR during the last week. Lets deal with the photo first. Dave sent in this photo of a Ruddy Darter copula, taken today at SS79498076. The male appears to be a typical bright individual. However, the female appears to show many features one might expect to see on a female Common Darter. The most obvious feature suggesting Common is the pale stripe behind the legs. The female looks fairly big compared to the male Ruddy and the general colouration looks a little dull. The markings and shape to the abdomen is difficult to see in the photo as is the extent of the black markings around the frons. I'm not at all familiar with Ruddy Darter as a species, but there is not much shown in the photo that convinces me the female is a Ruddy Darter. I'd be very interested to hear any comments on ID of female Ruddy Darters or whether mixed pairs have been found at other locations, perhaps where Ruddy Darters and Common Darters occur more commonly.

Tony Messinger reported Ruddy Darters at the North Pool lagoons (SS799819) last week.

Red-veined Darter has been reported present from the east shore of Kenfig Pool.


Adrian Parr said...

Hi Mark,

To me, these look like absolutely typical male Ruddy Darter and female Common Darter. I think mixed pairs do occur from time to time with a number of species - male Emerald Damselflies in particular seem to be prone to forming mixed pairs. Such pairs very rarely make it past the 'tandem' stage - though I believe that several presumed hybrid adult Darters have been reported over the years (?from Asia).

Mark Hipkin said...

Hi Adrian,

Thanks very much for your response which is really interesting. The thought of hybrid Darters flying around is a little bit worrying though! I'd hoped that I might be able to put that sort of caution to one side for the few months over the summer when I tend to look at Gulls and Ducks less frequently.
I think we're all hoping that a Lesser Emperor graces the area before the summer is out. More Ruddy darters at Kenfig seen this morning so we seem to be shaping up for a good summer.

All the best.

Adrian Parr said...

I don't think there's much need to worry unduely about hybrids. I get the impression they are much like winning the lottery - maybe theoretically possible, but the chances of it happening are pretty remote!

Good luck with the Lesser Emperor; there do seem to be good numbers around this year. After a very poor showing last year, that's encouraging news.

Paul Denning said...

I wouldn't be too worried about hybrids -
When Red-veined Darters first appeared at Kenfig a few years ago, male RV Darters were observed mating with female Common Darters and I can't ever remember seeing (or identifying) a hybrid.