Last week, I managed to enjoy a couple of sunny mild days on Rye Levels before temperatures started to tumble. Although there were still two or three butterflies about, my attention was drawn to a very different looking Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) that was flying in a sunny corner with several others. When it landed, I could see that it was an over-mature female whose wings differed from the norm.
The wings of freshly emerged dragonflies are generally cloudy in appearance before they have fully hardened and the wings of mature specimens can also take on a slightly cloudy appearance as part of the ageing process.
The wings of this individual were translucent rather than transparent, with a cloudiness covering the wings in their entirety. They were also symmetrically patterned in two or three different shades of beige. I don't know whether this specimen is an aberration or whether it is just normal ageing but I have not seen it's like before. I've no doubt that I shall be paying close attention to Common Darter wings for evermore!
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) (over-mature female)
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)