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Slate Sprite    Leiblougesie

Short Description:

Slate sprite is small to medium sized, marked by a dark slate blue pruinosity especially on the thorax. Eyes are black above and green below. The blue colour of the postocular spots as well as S8 and S9 are much brighter than the pruinosity of thorax

Key identification features:

It has a blue-green pruinosed face with green labrum. No pruinosity on the forehead. The head above is black, with round, bright blue postocular spots. Eyes are black above and green below. The thorax has no side stripes and the upper thorax is plain dark slate blue with a mauve sheen. The sides of the thorax are green becoming heavily pruinescent with age. The wings are clear with dark reddish brown pterostigmas becoming black with age. Abdomen is above black with a metallic bronze sheen and buff-greenish below, becoming slate blue pruinescent. S8-9 is black above with blue patches and buff below and becoming pruinescent light grey with age. S10 is black above becoming pruinescent light greyish-blue.
The female is dichromatic and has a blue form and brown form. Postocular spots are light blue, joined by a brownish bar. The thorax can be buff or blue with black humeral (shoulder) stripes. The upper side of the abdomen is bronzy-black. S8 and S9 have a typical blue pattern. S8 and S9 have a light blue crown-shape patterns extending halfway from the posterior end of the segments to the middle of the segments. S10 is blue above.

Compared with other species:

Face of the P. draconisis (Mountain Sprite) is mostly black with black labrum, while face of P. salisburyense greyish green or blue is with green labrum. The P. kersteni (Powder-faced Sprite) has a white pruinescent forehead, but the forehead of the P. salisburyense has no pruinosity. The P. salisburyense does not have the yellow face of P. citricola (Yellow-faced Sprite). P. furcigerum (Palmiet Sprite) and the P. kersteni have striped thorax that are pale pruinescent but the thorax of the of P. salisburyense has no stripes on the side of the thorax. In mature P. spernatum the abdomen is all the same colour, without the blue tip of P. salisburyense. P. salisburyense has blue postocular spots and blue-green face like the P. draconisis (Mountain Sprite) and the P. spernatum (Upland Sprite).

Distribution and habitat:

Widespread throughout much of SA, but scarce in Western Cape. It is the most abundant sprite in South Africa.
Frequents of sedge, grasses and reeds of- streams, small rivers, natural pools and ponds.


Perch inactive on reed blades or grass stems overhanging the water.

Further reading:
A guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa.   
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa.

Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 663560.
More about our further reading
More about Dragonfly Anatomy
Map of South Africa

p. 62
p. 90



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