Brilliant red and with red leading-edge wing veins and a yellow or orange pterostigma boldly outlined in black, mature males are very easily identified, even at a distance.
Abdomens of females of this lovely dragonfly are ochre to yellow-brown with two black lines along each side. They have yellowish wing veins, and at first glance they could easily be mistaken for one of several other Sympetrum species.
As with other members of the Sympetrum genus, these are smallish dragonflies, the bodies typically 3.8 to 4cm long, and they are not particularly shy. If you move slowly and smoothly enough it is often possible to get very close to a Red-veined Darter.
We see the Red-veined darter quite frequently in southern Portugal and Spain, as it is a dragonfly of warm southern Europe, where its preferred habitat is shallow pools and stream backwaters.
Occasionally, migrants reach Britain, where they are most frequently sighted in the southern and south-western counties of England and Wales, although sometimes they stray as far north as central Scotland.
The two specimens shown on this page are males, photographed in southern Spain.