AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:09 pm

Africa Wild Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)


Upload your picture of a damselfly or dragonfly and add a description underneath. Please only do one species per post.

Please note: All entries will be edited and updated (additional photos and information will be added by moderators). New entries will be posted according to taxonomic order and the post date does not reflect the actual date of new posts.

AW Insect Book Damselflies & Dragonflies Pics & Descriptions

Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:32 pm


Index to Damselflies and Dragonflies (Order Odonata)

Suborder: Zygoptera (Damselflies)
Superfamily: Calopterygoidea
Demoiselles, family Calopterygidae
Jewels, family Chlorocyphidae
Superfamily: Lestinoidea
Malachites, family Synlestidae
Chlorolestes tessellatus Forest Malachite ... 10#p266730
Spreadwings, family Lestidae
Superfamily: Coenagrionoidea (Pond Damsel Damselflies)
Featherlegs, Stream Damsels, family Platycnemididae
Threadtails, Pinflies, family Protoneuridae
Elattoneura glauca Common Threadtail, Grey Threadtail ... 73#p235073
Pond Damsels, Sprites, family Coenagrionidae
Africallagma glaucum Swamp Bluet, Common African Blue ... 80#p235080
Ischnura senegalensis Marsh Bluetail, Common Bluetail
Pseudagrion acaciae Acacia Sprite ... 86#p235086
Pseudagrion commoniae Black Sprite ... 87#p235087
Pseudagrion kersteni Kersten's Sprite, Powder-striped Sprite ... 88#p235088
Pseudagrion salisburyense Slate Sprite viewtopic.php?p=348744#p348744
Pseudagrion sublacteum Cherry-eye Sprite ... 89#p235089

Suborder: Anisoptera (Dragonflies)
Superfamily: Aeshnoidea
Hawkers, Emperors, family Aeshnidae
Anax imperator Blue Emperor ... 92#p235092
Clubtails, family Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus ferox Common Tigertail, Common Tiger ... 98#p235098
Paragomphus genei Green Hooktail, Common Hooktail ... 04#p235104
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Presbas, family Synthemistidae
Cruisers, family Macromiidae
Emeralds, family Corduliidae
Skimmers, family Libellulidae
Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling ... 07#p235107
Brachythemis leucosticta Banded Groundling, Four-square Groundling ... 09#p235109
Crocothemis erythraea Broad Scarlet ... 11#p235111
Nesciothemis farinosa Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Blacktail ... 14#p235114
Orthetrum abbotti Little Skimmer, Abbott’s Skimmer ... 15#p235115
Orthetrum caffrum Two-striped Skimmer ... 16#p235116
Orthetrum chrysostigma Epaulet Skimmer ... 18#p235118
Orthetrum julia Julia Skimmer ... 19#p235119
Orthetrum machadoi Machado's Skimmer ... 21#p235121
Orthetrum trinacria Long Skimmer ... 22#p235122
Palpopleura lucia Lucia Widow, African Black Widow ... 23#p235123
Pantala flavescens Pantala, Wandering Glider ... 24#p235124
Tramea limbata Voyaging Glider, Ferruginous Glider ... 25#p235125
Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing ... 26#p235126
Trithemis arteriosa Red-veined Dropwing ... 27#p235127
Trithemis dorsalis Round-hook Dropwing, Dorsal Dropwing ... 28#p235128
Trithemis furva Navy Dropwing ... 29#p235129
Trithemis kirbyi ardens Kirby's Dropwing ... 30#p235130
Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing ... 31#p235131
Trithemis werneri Elegant Dropwing Dragonfly viewtopic.php?p=348745#p348745
Urothemis assignata Red Basker ... 07#p253307

AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:21 pm

There are two suborders of Odonata, the Zygoptera (damselflies) and the Anisoptera (dragonflies). Damselflies fold their wings over the body when at rest, have forewings and hindwings that are equal in size to one another and have aquatic predatory nymphs that breath through external gills sticking out of the end of the abdomen. Dragonflies, on the other hand, keep their wings out at an angle of 90 degrees to the body when at rest, have hindwings that are larger and differently shaped to the forewings, and have aquatic predatory nymphs that breath through a network of tracheae lining the rectum.

Odonata, Zygoptera, Synlestidae (Malachites)

Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:21 pm

Family Synlestidae (Malachite Damselflies or Malachites)

The Synlestidae are a family of damselflies commonly known as sylphs or malachites. They rest the same way as spreadwing damselflies (Lestidae) do.
Malachites are large damselflies which rest with wings open and have greenish or brown eyes. Usually metallic green bodies with pale greyish tail tip. Some have black and white banded wings. Mostly in montane streams. Some are very rare.

Descriptive features:
- antennal segment 2 markedly longer than segment 3
- prementum markedly longer than wide
- premental ligula with well-developed median cleft
- lobes of premental ligula not bulbous, moderately raised
- no premental setae
- labial palps without setae
- paraglossae absent
- abdomen slender
- median and lateral caudal gills similar in form
- caudal gills leaf-like, arranged vertically, apex rounded or slightly pointed, without *terminal stylus or filament
- Total length: 21.0–36.0 mm

Links: Checklist: The Synlestid Damselflies (Odonata: Synlestidae) of South Africa

AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:21 pm

Forest Malachite Chlorolestes tessellatus (Woudmalagiet)
Suborder: Zygoptera. Superfamily: Lestinoidea. Family: Synlestidae

Image © steamtrainfan
Male. Amatola Region, Eastern Cape

Body length: 54 mm. Hindwing length: 30-32 mm.
Fairly large, slender, dull metallic green, with indistinct straw-coloured thoracic markings or with black and white, banded wings.

Face: mostly dull metallic green, with pale dull yellow genae. Anteclypeus blackish with some dull yellow on lower margin.
Eyes: greenish grey with some brown.
Synthorax: above, dull metallic green with indistinct parallel pair of dull yellow stripes. Sides and underside of synthorax mostly pale yellow with pruinescence below.
Wings: Eastern Cape individuals with strongly black and white, banded wings. Individuals in other areas (Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo) with clear wings, although occasionally individuals with weakly banded wings in KwaZulu-Natal.
Pterostigmas: equally bicoloured, very dark brown and cream, or light mid-brown.
Abdomen: dull metallic green above, striped dull green and pale yellow at side. S9-10 pruinescent whitish grey
Female: similar in colour and patterning, but with only light pruinescence on S9-10.

Endemic to South Africa: Western Cape (rare), Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Mpumalanga highveld, Limpopo (Soutpansberg).

At well vegetated and shaded streams with pristine or near pristine banks at moderate elevations.

Flight period: November to May, with occasional overwintering individuals.

Odonata, Zygoptera, Protoneuridae (Threadtails, Pinflies)

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:11 pm

Family Protoneuridae (Threadtails, Pinflies)

This is a worldwide tropical family of mostly small and quite narrow-winged species. Of the over 30 Elattoneura species, only three occur in southern Africa. They are medium-sized, less than 35 mm long (wingspan 35-60 mm), blue or black, and rest with narrow wings held together. Wing venation is the most simple of all Odonata. Threadtails are very slender, with the head being much wider than the thorax. Generally abdomen is most slender of all odonates, thus the common name. All species are pale brown with black markings at emergence; females have a distinct cream-coloured stripe on the side of the thorax. In both sexes a narrow pale band at each segment rings the abdomen.
Typically they are found over streams and river banks.

Re: AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:13 pm

Common Threadtail, Grey Threadtail Elattoneura glauca (Gewone Draadstertjie)
Suborder: Zygoptera. Superfamily: Coenagrionoidea. Family: Protoneuridae

Image © Flutterby

Body length: 34–35 mm. Hindwing length: 18–18.5 mm.
Small and slender with a bluish grey colour. Smaller and more slender than any Pseudagrion (Sprites) species. Males have wide dorsal, greyish blue thoracic stripes giving them a ‘grey-backed’ appearance. Males become black with ageing. In females, brown replaces the bluish grey colour of the synthorax.

Face: Greyish black, strongly pruinescent greyish white. Labrum blackish. Head above greyish black.
Eyes: blue to turquoise, with dark caps, dark ring midway, and bright green below.
Prothorax: pruinescent.
Synthorax: above with distinct pruinescent, pale, wide bluish grey stripes, separated by a fine, mid-dorsal black stripe. The wide bluish grey stripes are flanked by sharp, black stripes. Synthorax side with brown stripe. Area between wing bases with small, light brown blotches.
Wings: very clear.
Pterostigmas: dark brown, with fine, light brown borders
Abdomen: dark bluish black, with fine, indistinct yellowish rings. S1-2 pruinescent above. S8-10 heavily pruinescent greyish white.
Female: larger and more robust than male. Patterning similar to male but brown replaces bluish grey. Thorax with light pruinescence, and buff below.

The species is widespread in eastern and southern Africa. Common throughout much of South Africa, to Kenya and DR Congo, but rare near coast and in lowveld, rare in the southwestern parts of the Western Cape Province.

Shady rivers and streams, occasionally shorelines of ponds or lakes. Among lush banks of tall grasses and reeds beside sluggish streams.

Flight period: October to May.

Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos

Odonata, Zygoptera, Coenagrionidae (Pond Damsels, Sprites)

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:37 pm

Coenagrionidae (Pond Damsels, Sprites)
This largest family of damselflies is the second-largest family of odonates. Almost anywhere in the world, they are usually the most common damselflies in open ponds and marshes.
Very large and widespread family of small to large (wingspan 20-65 mm) damselflies, variable in colour. Adults fly low and fast over the water, and can only be identified accurately by the combination of a short wing-spot, male claspers at the end of the abdomen that are not like forceps, wings held closed over the back at rest. Confusion with Protoneuridae and Platycnemidae can be resolved by careful examination of wing vein characters. Includes some of the commonest African damselflies. Pseudagrion and Africallogma most of the species. Pseudagrion resemble Africallogma. but are larger and occur more widely in Africa, Asia and Australia. Most species of Pseudagrion are blue, black or red.
Nymphs have a pronounced cone-shaped bulge between the 'jaws'.

Links: Checklist: The Coenagrionid Damselflies (Odonata: Coenagrionidae) of South Africa

Re: AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:39 pm

Swamp Bluet, Common African Blue Africallagma glaucum (Vleiblouetjie)
Suborder: Zygoptera. Superfamily: Coenagrionoidea. Family: Coenagrionidae

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna
Male, Garden in Johannesburg

Body length: 28–29 mm. Hindwing length: 15.5–16.5 mm.
Eyes are light blue with a black cap and a thin blue line between the eyes. Abdomen is light blue with a black dorsal line of varying widths.

Face: light blue and black. Labrum light blue with fine black base. Anteclypeus dirty light blue. Postclypeus black. Frons and genae light blue. Head above with black transverse band. A blue line runs across occiput but usually does not quite reach eyes. Sometimes this line is broken, forming postocular spots.
Eyes: light blue with black cap. Cap coincides with black head band.
Prothorax: black, with fine, broken light blue margins.
Synthorax: black and light blue stripes. Sometimes the blue is very light and brownish, and even occasionally completely brown.
Wings: clear.
Pterostigmas: dark grey, almost black, with fine pale margins.
Abdomen: light blue with a black dorsal line of varying widths, that ends in a taper at end of S7 (a little before in some individuals from the Western Cape). S8-9 above all blue. S10 blue with fine black stripe above. Superior appendages blackish with whitish extremity. Spine on inferior appendages mostly blue.
Female: with similar markings as male but light brown instead of blue.

The species is one of the commonest species in southern Africa, becoming progressively scarcer in the north and especially westwards in Africa. Common throughout South Africa from sea level to the alpine zone of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Native to Botswana; Gabon; Ghana; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Réunion; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania, Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

Pools and streams in bush in open and often arid country. Small but conspicuous as it flits from one lily leaf or emerging grass stem to another across the surface of pools and dams. Very common in marshy areas throughout South Africa.

Flight period: All year, but scarce in winter.

Interesting Facts
Thes specimen above is infested with red mite larvae of the water mite genus Arrenurus (family Arrenuridae). They are quite common on damselflies, especially on the kinds of damsels associated with more stagnant (not swift) water.
Alex Córdoba-Aguilar: Dragonflies and Damselflies: Model Organisms for Ecological and Evolutionary Research; BugGuide

Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos

Thank you for the identification and the additional info on the mites, wynand ^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^

Re: AW Insect Book: Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:46 pm

Marsh Bluetail, Common Bluetail Ischnura senegalensis Hemelstertjie
Suborder: Zygoptera. Superfamily: Coenagrionoidea. Family: Coenagrionidae

Pic wanted O/

Body length: 29–30 mm. Hindwing length: 14.5–15.5 mm.
Small, hairy, brightly coloured, blue, greenish blue and shiny black, with blue and black pterostigmas and bright cobalt blue abdominal tip.
Round (and not crescent-shaped nor linked) postocular spots. The black on the thorax is slightly metallic. Pterostigmas bicoloured - blackish in the inner half and bright blue in the outer half. The most distinguishing feature of the male is the blue patch on the side at the base of the abdomen.

Eyes: greenish blue and black, covered with fine, whitish setose down. Labrum green or greenish blue, with black base and edged in yellow. Anteclypeus green or greenish blue. Postclypeus shiny black, finely edged in light green. Frons light green. Head above dull black with bronze sheen, and two, round, bright cobalt blue postocular spot.
Prothorax: above shiny black, below and on collar greenish.
Synthorax: with whitish setose down, shiny black with mauve sheen and sharply-defined yellowish to greenish stripes, sometimes blue. Synthorax sides bright light green or greenish blue, sometimes sky blue.
Wings: clear.
Pterostigmas: blackish in inner half, bright blue in outer half, the blue of which fades on death.
Abdomen: S1-7 above shiny black, although S2 has distinct metallic sheen. Above, between S1 and S2 is a fine, sky blue ring. S1, and particularly S2, in side view, have roundish blue patches, continuous with light area below. S3-7 below buff. S8 bright blue. S9 above shiny black, below blue. S10 above shiny black, below buff. S10 hind margin with raised process with two peaks. Inferior appendages prominent and pointed, with black tips.
Female: has two colour forms, one similar to male, and the other bright rufous and black. In both forms, postclypeus shiny black and top of head metal black, contrasting strongly with the pale band running across front of frons.

Ischnura senegalensis is extremely widespread in tropical and subtropical parts of the old world, extending from Africa to Japan and south to western New Guinea. Widespread and abundant in South Africa.

Common among grasses and reeds beside pools, dams and sluggish reaches of rivers.
Very tolerant of urbanisation, even organically polluted ponds, and often seen in suburban gardens.

Flight period: Sept to May (occasionally overwintering).

Links: Warwick Tarboton - Photos, Trevor Hardaker - Photos