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Scarlet dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea
Scarlet dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea


Scarlet dragonfly
The scarlet dragonfly (Crocothemis erythraea), or common scarlet-darter, is a species in the order dragonflies (Odonata), the suborder Epiprocta, the infraorder dragonflies (Anisoptera), the superfamily Libelluloidea, the family Libellulidae, and the genus Crocothemis. Subspecies of the scarlet dragonfly are Crocothemis erythraea chaldaeorum and Crocothemis erythraea erythraea.
Crocothemis erythraea
Crocothemis erythraea
Crocothemis erythraea come from the warm zone of Africa, Western Asia and Southern Europe. Over approximately the last ten years, they have spread out over the Alps into the north, and can be found in Central Europe in summer, as far north as the southern edge of Scandinavia.
Crocothemis erythraea - Front view
Crocothemis erythraea - Front view
Adult scarlet dragonflies reach body lengths of 40 - 45 mm. Their colouration varies. In Central Europe brownish-red males are often encountered, while for example in the Mediterranean region, all the males are bright red. The eyes and legs are red and there is a red, or orange-yellow, basal spot on each hindwing. The abdomen of the males is very long and there are pincers at the end that are used to hold the females during mating.
Common scarlet-darter
Common scarlet-darter
Females are light brown, olive brown, olive green or ochre in colour. The basal spots on their hindwings are yellow or yellow-orange. The wingspan of the scarlet dragonfly is 55 - 70 mm. Between the wing approaches a light narrow dorsal line can be detected. The pterostigma is yellow or orange-yellow to brown. Scarlet dragonflies can easily be confused with some darter species, however, they are larger and have a flatter abdomen than the darters. Young and female scarlet dragonflies are similar in colouration to female black-lined skimmers(Orthetrum cancellatum). The latter, however, have agrey to bluish marking on their wings. Female scarlet dragonflies also have a vertically protruding ovipositor. The legs are strongly built and are used to catch prey.
Scarlet dragonfly - Top view
Scarlet dragonfly - Top view
Scarlet dragonflies are active from April to October. They prefer to live on warm stagnant water (lakes, ponds or pools), where their larvae can develop. The presence of abundant vegetation on the ground at the water's edge is always importantbecause the males like to be there.
Anisoptera - Crocothemis erythraea
Anisoptera - Crocothemis erythraea
Scarlet dragonflies prey on insects (flies, mosquitoes), or on spiders, which they catch while in flight. They have their own territory which they defend against rivals. The mating season of the scarlet dragonfly is from May to August in Central Europe, and from April to October in the Mediterranean. Mating begins within a few seconds of flight and is usually continued on the ground.
Dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea
Dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea
Fertilized females lay their eggs from the air, dropping 20 - 30 of them, each about 0. 5 mm in length, into vegetated waters. The larvae need to stay at the bottom of the water for about 1 year in order to develop. They live off captured micro-organisms until they are about 19 mm in length. At the end of their development, the larvae leave the water by crawling up parts of plants. After hatching from their outer shell (exuviae), the adult dragonflies dry and begin to fly. In Central Europe, the scarlet dragonfly produces 1 new generation a year, in the Mediterranean, 2 are possible.
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Scarlet dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea
2. Crocothemis erythraea
3. Crocothemis erythraea - Front view
4. Common scarlet-darter
5. Scarlet dragonfly - Top view
6. Anisoptera - Crocothemis erythraea
7. Dragonfly - Crocothemis erythraea
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Sources, links and more informations
Scarlet Dragonfly in Wikipedia
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