Forest Malachite Chlorolestes tessellatus Woudmalagiet
Fairly large to large sized. metallic green damselfly with pale yellow markings, usually with strongly marked, black and white banded wings.
This species may in the near future be combined with Mountain Malachite, Chlorolestes fasciatus
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Key identification features:
- Length 49- 53-57 mm ♂; 47-50-51 mm ♀;wingspan 55-59-68 mm ♂;
- Face mostly dull metallic with some dull yellow patches.
- Eyes greenish grey with some brown.
- Thorax dull metallic green darkening to coppery brown with age. outlined by dull yellow stripes from above, sides and underside mostly pale yellow with some pruinecence below. The upper stripes broad and dark (broader and darker the the Mountain Malachite). The lower stripe are broad and with the fore half yellow becoming brown towards the rear half
- Wings in the Eastern Cape, with strongly marked black and white banded wings. In the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, wings clear; some individuals in open habitats in KwaZulu-Natal with weakly banded wings. Pterostigmas cream or light brown outside, very dark brown inside darkening to a uniform brown with age..
- Abdomen dull metallic green from above, somewhat yellowish at sides darkening to a coppery brown with age. Segments 9 and 10 with whitish grey pruinescence. Upper claspers down-turned towards the tip. Lower claspers branched curved inwards to the point.
- Similar in colour and patterning to male,, although wings always clear and never banded, only light pruinescence on segments 9 and 10.
Compared with other species:
- Chlorolestes apricans is the smallest of all Chlorolestes species
- The only other Chlorolestes species in Amatola-Winterberg region of South Africa are C. fasciatus (Mountain malachite) and C. tessellatus (Forrest Malachite), both of which also have banded wings in the ECP, but both species are much larger (more than 50 mm long).
- C. apricans and C. fasciatus can be in the same habitat (open, sunny, grassy streams), C. tessellatus, (in forest), but are separated on shape of hind margin of s 10 and on appendages.
- The only other small Chlorolestes species is C. umbratus (White Malachite), of the southern Cape coastal area, which has a very pruinescent synthorax and, in side view, hooked superior appendages. Labrum is metallic green, in both male and female C. apricans, but black in male and female C. umbratus.
Distribution and habitat:
Inhabits clear, shallow, rocky streams with riffles and glides and with an abundance of long grass, herbs and
indigenous overhanging bushes (used as oviposit sites). Often calmer sections (like pools) with emergent vegetation,
coarse detritus, rocks and/or a soft (like muddy) bottom.
From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly between 1100 and 2100.
- Mostly at rest with outstretched wings on vegetation overhanging water.
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660130