The red-veined darter or nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a dragonfly of the genus Sympetrum. It is a common species in southern Europe and from the 1990s onwards has increasingly been found in northwest Europe, including Britain and Ireland. Its name is sometimes spelt fonscolombei instead of fonscolombii but Askew (2004) gives the latter as the correct spelling. There is genetic and behavioural evidence that S. fonscolombii is not closely related to the other members of the Sympetrum genus and will at some time in the future be removed from this genus.
Occurs in much of central and southern Europe including most Mediterranean islands, in Africa, the Middle East and south-western Asia including India, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia. In Europe it is resident in the south of its range but in some years it migrates northward and has been found as far north as Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Poland and northern England. It is the only libellulid to be found in the Azores and it is also found on the Canary Islands and Madeira.
It is found in all sorts of still water but being a migrant it is often found away from water. It has been seen flying over the sea.
S. fonscolombii can be seen on the wing throughout the year around the Mediterranean and in the south of its range, however, its main flight period is May to October and it is scarce during the winter months. It is a territorial species with the males often sitting on an exposed perch. After copulation the pair stay in tandem for egg laying and pairs can be seen over open water with the female dipping her abdomen into the water depositing eggs. Pairs are known to fly over the sea in tandem dipping into the salt water where the eggs soon perish. The eggs and larvae develop rapidly and S. fonscolombii unlike most other European dragonflies has more than one generation a year.
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Photos Lefka 17/6/2016 by George Konstantinou