Dragonfly from France

Subject: Saw this in Languedoc, France
Location: Languedoc, Mediterranean Coast, Southern France
January 28, 2013 4:40 pm
Hi Bugman, I cycled through masses of these by a canal in long grass in Languedoc, Southern France last September. Any idea what it is please? Thanks.
Signature: Chris Sherwell


Dear Chris,
This is some species of Dragonfly.  Though they are revered in some countries like Japan, Dragonflies more than most insects are saddled with a plethora of maleficent common names including Devil’s Darning Needle, Ear Cutter, Snake Doctor and Eye Poker.  Many countries have odd superstitions and lore centered on Dragonflies and they are feared unnecessarily by many.  Dragonflies are beneficial predators that help control the populations of troublesome insects like mosquitoes.  Dragonflies will not sting nor bite humans.  While we don’t recognize this species, we did locate a photo on FlickR that appears to be the same species and it is also from France.

Update:  February 2, 2013
Hi Bugman, with your expertise as a starting point I’ve trawled the web for photos and found out it was a female Red Veined Darter. “Sympetrum fonscolombii can be seen on the wing throughout the year around the Mediterranean” – bang on for where we saw it in Southern France.
Here’s a photo that almost matches mine!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8152590534/in/photostream
Thanks for your help. The web would be a poorer place without people like you!
Rgds, Chris,

Thanks so much for the update.

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