Banded Groundling, Four-square Groundling Brachythemis leucosticta
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae
Body length: 29–31 mm. Hindwing length: 23.5–25 mm.
Small, unmistakable, black-bodied with black bands on each wing and yellowish pterostigmas.
Male is one of the most easily identified of all dragonflies, with its dark brown wing bands and all-charcoal head, thorax and abdomen. The wing bands are absent in the female and teneral.
Female often seen with the male, but mating pairs rarely seen. Pterostigma is bicoloured, yellowish in the centre and dark brown towards the edges. Male and female typically perch on bare ground near the water’s edge.
Face: brownish. Labrum, anteclypeus and postclypeus mostly dark brown with some paler areas. Frons front and vertex dimpled, shiny black. Frons side light grey with central black spot.
Eyes: mostly brownish-black, greyish below.
Synthorax: all charcoal.
Wings: each with a wide, black band between nodus and pterostigma running from fore- to hindmargin. The band appears brownish when viewed from certain angles.
Pterostigmas: yellowish, but dark brown towards outer edge, becoming deeper brown with age.
Abdomen: all charcoal.
Female: yellowish with brown eyes, grizzled brown marks on thorax, and yellowish pterostigmas which are dark brown in outer quarter abdomen with dark stripes along top and sides, and S8-10 largely dark brown with yellow appendages. With age, turns dark greyish brown, with brown pterostigmas.DistributionBrachythemis leucosticta
is widespread in Africa (except in forest areas), southern Europe, and the Middle East.
Northern Cape Province, Western Province, Limpopo, northern KwaZulu Natal (up to 700 m a.s.l.) and Mpumalanga lowveld and Swaziland. Habitat
Dry, heavily grazed savanna near pools, dams and sluggish reaches of rivers. Mostly away from water, along dirt tracks or on the fringes of receding pools with unvegetated beaches. This is a species typical of hot savanna areas.Biology
Flight period: November to May. Ground perching in warm savanna.
Gregarious, flying low to ground, often following observer, as it would follow walking game, catching small insects put to flight by the movement. Like cattle egrets, this species is known to accompany herds of large mammals. They fly close to the ground between the legs of antelope and cattle (and even human observers), catching insects disturbed by the animals. Frequently perches on bare ground. Female often with male, but mating pairs rarely seen.
© Super Mongoose
Male, Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve
© Guinea Pig
Teneral male, Kruger National Park, Mooiplaas
Hartebeespoort Dam area, North West Province
Kruger National Park. Mopani camp, Eco Trail
Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos