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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:54 pm

Red Groundling Brachythemis lacustris (Rooi Grondkruiper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Male, Kruger National Park

Image © BluTuna
Teneral male, Kruger National Park

Image © BluTuna
Teneral male, Kruger National Park

Description
Body length: 31.5-32.5 mm. Hindwing length: 22-22.5 mm. Small, stocky, bright red, with large orange splashes on wings.
Face and vertex all brownish red. Frons and vertex dimpled. Eyes above blood red, pinkish below. Synthorax bright red. Wings all with large, bright orange splashes, almost reaching nodus. Pterostigmas yellowish brown on inner two-thirds, becoming darker, reddish on outer third. Pterostigmas short, 2.1-2.2 mm long. Abdomen swollen at base. S1-4, all bright red, with no dark or black markings.
Female all yellowish and light brown with few distinctive markings and a less tapering and more bulbous abdomen. Wings completely clear, with no orange markings.
Similar species: Can be confused with the Rock Dropwing Trithemis kirbyi ardens.

Distribution
Throughout most of the African Continent, South Europe and West Asia. The species is widespread in tropical sub-Saharan Africa, except from rainforest areas. This species is common along perennial river systems in the tropical north of southern Africa. It does not occur in the arid southwest or at the Cape. The range extends patchily from coastal Zululand northwards through the hot. low-lying eastern parts of South Africa.
Native to: Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Chad; DRC; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia (Caprivi Strip); Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Tanzania,Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

Habitat
Rivers and streams in savanna, bush and woodland. This species is seen at pools and rain puddles. It is frequently found on rocks near rivers, from where it hunts mosquitoes and other aquatic flies.

Biology
Flight period: November to April.
This species is very gregarious, often with several individuals of both sexes perching along same grass stem at water edge.

Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos; Michael J. Samways: Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa

Image © Sharifa
Kruger National Park, Biyamiti

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:58 pm

Banded Groundling, Four-square Groundling Brachythemis leucosticta (Gebande Grondkruiper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © nan
Male

Description
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.

Distribution
Brachythemis 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.

Image © Super Mongoose
Male, Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve

Image © Guinea Pig
Teneral male, Kruger National Park, Mooiplaas

Image © BluTuna
Hartebeespoort Dam area, North West Province

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park. Mopani camp, Eco Trail

Image © steamtrainfan
Pilanesberg

Image © BluTuna
Ngwenya Lodge

Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:02 pm

Broad Scarlet, Scarlet Dragongfly, Scarlet Darter Crocothemis erythraea (Breë Blosie)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © Pumbaa
Male, Kruger National Park

Image © Pumbaa
Female, Kruger National Park

Description
Body length: 39-40 mm. Hindwing length: 29-30 mm. Medium-sized, wide-bodied, all bright red, with small basal amber patch on hindwing. No other bright red species has such a broad abdomen. The abdomen has a long, dark, smudgy line running dorsally along its length. Unlike Trithemis species, the Broad Scarlet has no black on the sides of the abdomen. The pterostigmas are long and light yellowish-brown in colour. The eyes are a dark crimson colour with a bright blue edging on the hind margin, very visible in the field.
The adult male Scarlet Dragonfly has a bright red, widened abdomen, and small amber patches at the bases of the hindwings.
Females and immatures are yellow-brown and have a conspicuous pale stripe along the top of the thorax.
Strong, darting flight when disturbed.

Distribution
Throughout South Africa from sea level to 1600 m a.s.l. To Europe and West Asia.

Habitat
Pools and shallow, still reaches of streams and rivers, usually with an abundance of floating and emergent vegetation, although sometimes rocky.
Perches conspicuously, usually close to water surface, on lilies, reeds and twigs, sometimes on rocks.

Biology
Flight period: October to May.

Links: Michael J. Samways: Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa; Warwick Tarboton Photos

Image © Pumbaa
Male, Kruger National Park, causeway near the S114 S11820 intersection

Image © BluTuna
Male, Kruger National Park

Image © Kesheshe
Male, Kruger National Park

Image © Kesheshe
Male Red-veined Dropwing and male Broad Scarlet, Kruger National Park

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park, Mopani camp, Eco Trail

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:05 pm

Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Blacktail Nesciothemis farinosa (Swartstert Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © Pumbaa
Kruger National Park

Description
Body length: 40–46 mm. Hindwing length: 30.5–35 mm.
Unmistakable pale blue species with a black head and abdominal tip that perches on twigs and reeds at the water’s edge. Wings are clear to slightly smoky. Pterostigmas are deep yellowish brown. Often returns to the same perch. Female is yellowish brown and has a dark brown line running either side of the length of the abdomen. Female also has a distinct, pale cream, median line running along the top of the thorax.

Face: light below, dark above. Labrum dark brown with deep yellow margin. Anteclypeus, postclypeus and lower part of frons mottled light grey to dark brown. Top of frons dimpled, shiny black. Vertex dimpled, dull black, with minute, pimple-like peaks.
Eyes: brownish black above, greyish below.
Synthorax: covered in a dense, very pale pruinescent bluish-grey.
Wings: clear to slightly smoky, becoming very smoky, especially on wing tips, in older individuals.
Pterostigmas: deep yellowish brown, 4.2-4.5 mm long.
Abdomen: straight and very pointed. S1-5, like thorax, dense, very pale pruinescent bluishgrey. S6-10 black, with faint, dorsal yellowish markings which darken with age, becoming almost black in old individuals.
Female: light and dark yellowish brown. Face all light brown. Thorax light brown on sides, dark above, with a distinct fine, median, pale cream to brownish line.
Wings clear, but brown at tips in young individuals, becoming clear, and finally smoky with age. Abdomen light yellowish brown with a dark brown line running either side of length of abdomen. Distinct yellowish foliations on S8, with dark brown margins.

Distribution
Throughout much of South Africa, but more common in warm areas and local on highveld. Up to 1200 m a.s.l. in KwaZulu-Natal. Nesciothemis farinosa is widespread from northern South Africa to Egypt and southern Arabia.

Habitat
Pools and dams with an abundance of reeds and bushes. Common at rivers and permanent streams with high reeds margins.

Biology
Flight period: October to May.

Links: Warwick Tarboton Photos; ARKive

Image © Hawkeyes
Male, Lake Eland Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

Image © Guinea Pig
Teneral male, Kruger National Park, Mooiplaas

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:07 pm

Little Skimmer, Abbott’s Skimmer Orthetrum abbotti (Abbottse Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Teneral female, Garden in Johannesburg

Description
Body length: 36–37 mm. Hindwing length: 26–26.5 mm.
The smallest of the South African Orthetrum species, and one of three (the other two being Hintz’s Skimmer, O. hintzi, and Machado’s Skimmer, O. machadoi) that is all pale blue, with no other markings, when mature.
Pterostigmas are large and long, light brown with a dark brown anterior margin. The abdomen in the female is light yellowish brown with parallel black lines either side of the top of the abdomen. The Little Skimmer has a weak flight, and frequently returns to the same grass or reed perch.

Face: narrow, mostly pale grey. Labium and labrum cream. Anteclypeus, postclypeus and frons light grey, but each edged in black, including a half to fully spectacled
area, dark above, light below, on front of frons. Vertex dimpled, shiny black with small peaks.
Eyes: dark greyish blue above, light bluish turquoise below.
Synthorax: all pruinescent, pale greyish blue.
Wings: slightly smoky.
Pterostigmas: large and long (3.4-3.5 mm long) for its size, light brown with a dark brown anterior margin. Costa and antenodal crossveins yellow.
Abdomen: narrow, all pruinescent, pale greyish blue.
Female: face all greenish cream, unmarked except for two blackish markings on dorsal surface of frons adjacent to eyes. Vertex dark brown with low peaks. Thorax greenish cream, virtually unmarked except for darkening of sutures. Dorsal surface of thorax covered with minute, blackish spines, giving a fine, spotted appearance. Wings slightly smoky, with darker smoky patches reaching arculus. Costa yellow. Abdomen light yellowish brown, with dark brown lateral markings starting on S4, becoming wider, joining on S8. S9 all dark brown. S10 yellowish posteriorly, with two, fine black dots. A fine blackish line runs mid-dorsally from S3-8, with paired dark markings at end of each S3-7.

Distribution
Orthetrum abbotti is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provonces northwards, up to 1800 m a.s.l. To Central Africa, the subspecies malgassicum in Madagascar.

Habitat
The species favours well vegetated springs, clumps of tall grasses and reeds in swampy pools and marshy banks of rivers as well as seasonal swamps, in bush and savanna.

Biology
Flight period: November to May.
Breeding: Females touch the water with a series of dips to lay eggs.

Links: Africa Dragonfly

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:10 pm

Two-striped Skimmer, White-lined Skimmer, Mountain Marsh Orthetrum Orthetrum caffrum (Strepies Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Teneral female, Garden in Johannesburg

Description
Medium-sized. Body length: 40–41 mm. Hindwing length: 28.5–29.5 mm.
Their most distinctive feature are 2 noticeable, cream-coloured stripes on the sides of the thorax in both male and female and a pale line between the wings. The pterostigma is short and pale. The male is all pale blue with two whitish thoracic stripes, a shoulder stripe as well as a strong, whitish stripe between the wings, with brownish thorax.
Similar species: The only other species with two side stripes is the larger O. julia capicola which has far less distinct stripes and does not have a creamish white stripe between the wings, but greyish.

Face: light grey, not spectacled. Labium buff. Labrum and anteclypeus light, buffish grey. Postclypeus and frons light grey becoming cream at sides, only very faintly spectacled. Vertex with small peaks.
Eyes: dark turquoise, becoming brownish below.
Synthorax: dark brown, only slightly pruinescent. Side of thorax with two light, yellowish grey side stripes, (in addition to a shoulder stripe) which can be obscured with pruinescence in very old individuals. Between wing a strong, whitish stripe, varying from slightly greyish to cream.
Wings: slightly smoky.
Pterostigmas: short (2.8-3 mm long), light yellowish brown. Costa and crossveins yellowish.
Abdomen: pale blue pruinescent.
Female: light reddish brown, almost pink in Cape. Face mostly light grey with cream labrum. Eyes light brown. Thorax light reddish brown with two, distinct, cream side stripes, and a cream stripe between wings. Pterostigmas light yellowish brown. Abdomen light reddish brown with weak, dark brown lateral stripes running length. Minute, black foliations on S8.

Distribution
It ranges from southern Africa and Madagascar to the Sahel and the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. To the west, the species was recently proven to reach the Atlantic coast in Gambia. In South Africa found in the Eastern Cape Province, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape Province; common in the Drakensberg Mountains, in the Little Berg, for example at Impendle.

Habitat
The species is known from nearly all kinds of freshwater habitats (e.g., slow-flowing rivers and their backwaters and swamps, marshes, permanent and temporary pools, ponds, small dams and springs). It is mainly a montane species associated with pools in small rivers with an abundance of tall grasses. It perches on tall grasses and reeds along streams and rivers.

Biology
Flight period: October to March.
Breeding: Females lay eggs by coming into contact with surface water, dipping in flight.

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:14 pm

Epaulet Skimmer Orthetrum chrysostigma (Epoulet Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Male, Hartebeespoort Dam area, North West Province

Image © BluTuna
Female

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park, Mopane camp

Description
Body length: 42–45.5 mm. Hindwing length: 31–32 mm.
A pale blue species with a single creamish, black-edged shoulder (thoracic) stripe.
The female is light brown in colour, but also displays the single, light creamish, thoracic stripe, finely edged in black.

Face: all grey. Labium, labrum, anteclypeus and postclypeus light grey. Frons pencil grey, and squarely spectacled in light grey. Vertex shiny black, dimpled with prominent peaks.
Eyes: dull turquoise.
Synthorax: dull dark brown, with a single, large, but indistinct, creamish grey side stripe. Becomes obscured with pruinescence in old individuals. Pruinescence light, but forms a greyish blue stripe between the wings.
Wings: clear, becoming only very slightly smoky with age.
Pterostigmas: yellowish brown, 3.4-3.5 mm long.
Abdomen: pruinescent pale blue.
Female: light brown. Face and eyes pale brown. Thorax greenish to yellowish brown with a distinctive light creamish stripe, finely edged in black. Abdomen yellowish brown, darker brown on side, with S8-9 becoming darker brown above. Minute, black foliations on S8.

Similar species: O. julia capicola, which is only in the Western Cape, has two side stripes.

Distribution
Throughout much of South Africa up to 1500 m a.s.l. This is one of the most common species in Africa and is widespread throughout the African continent, except in dense forests. It reaches southern Europe, the Middle East and the whole Arabian Peninsula.

Habitat
They inhabit desert, wetlands, well-vegetated water bodies and temporary waters. Shallow, rocky streams and pools. It perches on reeds and boulders at the stream edge or along paths.

Biology
Flight period: October to May, with occasional winter individuals.
Breeding: Females oviposit in thick vegetation, guarded by males hovering over open water. Larval development from egg to emergence is under 50 days, allowing for a number of generations to be produced each year.

Image © BluTuna
Male

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park, Mopane camp

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:16 pm

Julia Skimmer Orthetrum julia (Juliase Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Orthetrum julia falsum male. Hartebeespoort Dam area, North West Province

Image © Kesheshe
Orthetrum julia falsum male. Kruger National Park

Image © flying cheetah
Female Orthetrum julia falsum near Shipadani hide in the Kruger National Park

Image © Flutterby
Female Orthetrum julia falsum near Lower Sabie in the Kruger National Park

Description
Body length: 45–49 mm. Hindwing length: 31–36 mm.
O. j. falsum is the only Orthetrum with blackish pterostigmas.

Face: light grey. Labium creamwith a central dark brown spear shape that reaches anterior margin (O. j. falsum) or does not ( O. j. capicola). Labrum light grey with a black edge (O. j. falsum) or all cream (O. j. capicola). Anteclypeus and postclypeus light bluish grey. Frons mid greyish blue becoming blackish on top, finely spectacled in white. Vertex black, dimpled, with no groove between two sharp, peaks.
Eyes: dark turquoise.
Synthorax: mottled brownish (with blue pruinescence and bluishgreen shoulder stripes) through most of E of SA, becoming all pruinescent blue in swamp forests of N of KZN (all O. j. falsum). In Western Cape, thorax lighter with two light greyish blue stripes (not pruinescent) on each side of thorax, with a pruinescent blue stripe between the wings (O. j. capicola).
Wings: clear, becoming smoky with age, especially at tips. Small, dark brown splashes at base of wings, especially hindwings.
Pterostigmas: dark brown to black (O. j. falsum) or mid reddish brown (O. j. capicola) (3.1-3.5 mm long).
Abdomen: of moderate build, pruinescent blue.
Female: striped, all light brown and dark brown (tending to pinkish in O. j. capicola), and with strong, black foliations. In O. j. falsum, the thorax heavily striped all over. Abdomen S1-6 alternately striped, while S7-10 almost entirely blackish. Wings clear to heavily smoky in some old individuals. Pterostigmas dark brown to blackish (O. j. falsum) or light reddish brown (O. j. capicola).

Distribution
The species is widespread in tropical Africa. Throughout much of SA. Two subspecies. O. j. falsum occurs from the Eastern Cape Province northwards, whereas O. j. capicola is restricted to the Western Cape Province.

Habitat
Reed beds and grassy areas of pools, dams and sluggish parts of streams in heavily wooded areas in the north, but in the Cape in more open areas.

Biology
Flight period: Throughout year, although scarce in winter.

Image © BluTuna
Orthetrum julia falsum Teneral male

Image © BluTuna
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Johannesburg

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:18 pm

Machado's Skimmer Orthetrum machadoi
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Female, Kruger National Park, Mopane camp, Eco Trail

Description
Body length: 37.5-41 mm. Hindwing length: 28-30 mm.
Medium-sized, fairly robust, males all pruinescent blue. Whitish face, dark green eyes and dark markings on the side of the thorax.

Face: light greyish blue. Labium greyish cream, with or without a dark, medium band. Anteclypeus and postclypeus light grey. Frons light to mid-grey, scarcely spectacled, with a diffuse dark area where frons meets eyes. Vertex dimpled, shiny black, with low peaks and no groove.
Eyes: dull turquoise.
Synthorax: darkish pruinescent blue, sometimes with a lighter pruinescent (not cream or grey) side stripe, but in other individuals the blue is more less even across thorax, although lighter between wings.
Wings: clear to slightly smoky.
Pterostigmas: moderate length (3.4-3.6 mm), yellowish brown with a dark anterior margin.
Abdomen: moderately slender, all pale pruinescent blue.
Female: all light yellowish to greenish brown. Thorax relatively unmarked, except for a wide, brown, shoulder stripe, composed of an outer dark margin and lighter inner
stripe. Wings slightly smoky. Abdomen yellowish brown with fine, dorsal stripe, and wider, dark brown side stripe. Small foliations on S8.

Distribution
The species is widespread in continental sub-Saharan Africa. In southern Africa, this species is widespread in the humid parts of the region, but not in the arid southwest or at the Cape. Localised in Cedarberg (Western Cape Province), Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal (up to 1100 m a.s.l.), Limpopo.
To Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.

Habitat
Marshy grassland, shallow grassy swamps and grassy, flooded margins of rivers. Perches on grasses and sedges, darting out, then returning to perch.

Biology
Flight period: September to April.

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

Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:20 pm

Long Skimmer Orthetrum trinacria (Gestrekte Skepper)
Suborder: Anisoptera. Superfamily Libelluloidea. Family: Libellulidae

Image © BluTuna
Male, Kruger National Park, Mopane camp, Eco Trail

Description
Body length: 53–58 mm. Hindwing length: 35–37 mm.
Rich blue eyes, a pale pterostigma. Males look almost black in flight. An all dark blue and large, elongated species that perches conspicuously, usually over water. The large, pale yellowish-brown pterostigmas are easily recognisable in the field. The abdomen is long and narrow with no foliations. It is the only strong flying, but frequently perching, virtually all dark blue dragonfly of pool margins in South Africa. It often preys on large insects, including other dragonflies and butterflies.

Face: mostly light bluish grey. Labium dull yellow with indistinct central brown patch, not reaching anterior margin. Labrum dull yellow. Anteclypeus, postclypeus and frons light bluish grey, spectacled with a fine ridge and a black median line. Frons blackish adjacent to eyes. Vertex dimpled, shiny dark brown, with sharp peaks.
Eyes: turquoise, with a noticeably yellow occiput.
Synthorax: brown all over, with sutures finely outlined in black, and sharply-defined narrow, dark brown shoulder stripes. Thorax becomes obscured with a deep blue pruinescence, although the dark shoulder stripes, as well as a middorsal line, remain. Prothorax and anterior of synthorax with long, white, downy setae. Area between wings pruinescent blue.
Wings: very clear.
Pterostigmas: very long (4.3-4.4 mm) and narrow, very pale yellowish brown.
Abdomen: very long and slender, blackish above with longitudinal light brown dashes, becoming increasingly bluish, then greyish with age. S3 always heavily pruinescent.
Female: light greenish yellow with strong, dark brown mid-dorsal stripe, and narrow, dark brown shoulder stripes. Sides of thorax hardly marked, with only a darkening of sutures. Abdomen long and narrow, tessellated dark brown and yellow. No foliations.

Distribution
Orthetrum trinacria is widespread throughout the whole of Africa, except in the tropical rainforest, and the Middle East, and reaches the south of Europe. Throughout much of South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, North-West Province, Western Cape), including Cape Peninsula. To Mediterranean.

Habitat
Reeds along the edges of pools and dams.

Biology
Flight period: November to May.
Breeding: The larval period is short so that the species is able to reproduce successfully in temporary water bodies.