06 October 2014

Carmine Darter – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl, looking for Egyptian Nightjars, I found a bright red coloured Dragonfly that perched regularly on a small shrub where I managed to get a photograph of it perched in some sunlight briefly. The Carmine Darter Crocothemis erythraea is a common dragonfly throughout the Middle East, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman. The male is carmine red, while the female is a significantly drabber yellow-buff colour with two paler marks on top of the thorax. It is a medium-sized dragonfly approximately 52mm in length. The abdomen is wider than other members of the family, flattened and tapering to the end. It is widespread in the Arabian Peninsula where it prefers a habitat of rocky areas and dry watercourses as well as shallow, still, eutrophic waters such as small ponds, paddy fields, and desert pools, but it avoids oases. Adults only live for up to two months. Adults spend much of their time perched on vegetation although they have a fast, darting flight and hover frequently.