Slender Bluet, Africallagma fractum, Slanke Bloutjie
Slender Bluet, Africallagma fractum, Slanke Bloutjie is small sized, slender, striped blue and black with very large light blue postocular spots that is almost linked with a thin blue band.
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Key identification features:
- Face is bright blue, greenish blue and black. Labrum is bright blue with three small black basal spots. Anteclypeus blue, postclypeus is black. Frons is greenish blue. Head black from above with large, slightly wedge-shaped pale blue postocular spots, almost linked by fine, bright blue line.
- Eyes are black above, greenish blue to bright blue below. Neck is bright blue and black.
- Thorax black with bright blue shoulder stripe, sides sky blue becoming brownish with age. Light grey in front and below thorax. When young different shades of brown replacing the blue markings
- Legs are light grey with black.
- Wings clear.
- Pterostigmas roundish, light grey with fine light borders.
- Abdomen is long and slender. Segments 1 to 7 black with slight greenish sheen above S 4-6 has blue band with a small keyhole marking on top similar to the marking on s 7. S 7 has narrow blue band with a distinct gap forming almost a triangle in the form of a keyhole. This gap (keyhole) may not always be distinctive. S 8 - 9 are completely bright blue. S 10 is bright blue not completely all around leaving thin black line on top.
- Superior appendages black. Spines on inferior appendages mostly black.
- Similar to male, less slender, blue replaced by light brown when young,
- Narrow black humeral stripe may have light brown stripes ether side
- Segment 8 with large dark area above with a blue arrow head shaped marking, s 9 with two-pointed (stipes) dark area.
Prefers to live among tall grasses and herbs that grow thickly along small streams and pools in bush of forest openings.
- Conspicuous as it sits high on tall grass stems, gently waving its abdomen up and down and often engaging in territorial disputes. Standing waters in open landscapes. Often with emergent and usually aquatic vegetation.
- From 700 to 2100 m above sea level, but possibly down to 100.
Compared with other species:
- Africallagma Sapphirinum (Sapphire bluet) has small linked blue tear dropped postocular spot and clearly defined blue bands on 4-5.
- A. glaucom (Swamp Bluet) has small blue paddle shaped linked postocular spots and differs on S7 by not having the deep triangular keyhole shaped marking as compared to A. fractum.
- Azuragrion nigridorsum (Sailing Bluet) has very small postocular spots linked with a broad blue band S 8 is a blue ring next to S9. This ring becomes open for the first half with black on top. S 10 is a saddle like black patch on top.
- Proischnura rotundepennis (Roundwing Bluet) has large blue tear dropped shaped postocular spot that is not linked. S 8 may be black towards the rear S 10 only has a blue band on the underside of the segment.
- Highly localised species and is not always present at the same locality from one year to the next. It has been recorded between 600 and 1 200 m elevation in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province.
- Angola; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Malawi; Mozambique; Republic of South Africa; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
Websites of interest:
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
- Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 662320
- African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
- A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa