One of the two very common red-bodied (♂) Sympetrum species resident in the UK, the other being the Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). They are apt to cause confusion for some, the diagnostic distinguishing feature being the legs: plain black for S. sanguineum, striped in S. striolatum. There are other features but the legs clinch it.
- all black legs
- mature ♂ – blood-red clubbed abdomen
- mature ♂ – reddish frons
- ♀ – yellow abdomen
- small yellow patches at hind-wing base