Darters can present a challenge with respect to identification and it’s always worth taking a good look at your photos. At first glance you may well think the photo (left) is a Common Darter, but a closer look reveals solid black legs, a waisted and club- shaped abdomen, no sign of antehumeral stripes, the start of ruddy coloration developing on the frons and the presence of a frons side line – all of which tell us this is an immature Ruddy Darter seen by Andy Beech at Aston Locks on 18th July.
The following day Jim Almond photographed Ruddy Darter at Shavington Park (below left). This was a more advanced male, but still not fully mature and still requiring a careful look for the same diagnostic features.
And just to complete the picture Miles Leach braved the heat on Sunday on Brown Clee with Abdon District Community Wildlife Group and was rewarded with 9 species including Common Darter (below right). His photo illustrates a yellow stripe on the legs, no frons side line or ruddy coloration on the frons and the presence of antehumeral stripes on the thorax indicating this is an immature male Common Darter.