Rainforest Malachite, Nubiolestes diotima.   Africa

Nubiolestes diotima Rainforest Malachite



Short description:

Rainforest Malachite, Nubiolestes diotima is fairly large, slender forest living damselfly, with distinct orange and dark brown/black abdomen with segments 8-10 brightly white pruinose, The latter stands out in the forest gloom.

Family Synlestidae Tillyard, 1917

  • Genus Nubiolestes Fraser, 1945
    • Nubiolestes diotima (Schmidt, 1943)
      The only species currently recognised in this genus.
      The single species N. diotima was long considered the only Old World representative of the tropical American family Perilestidae, but is more closely related to Chlorolestes and thus the only synlestid in equatorial Africa.

Also known as the African Twigtail

 Key identification features:


  • Eyes green becoming lighter at the bottom
  • Thorax green with yellow/white stripes
  • Pterostigma light brown short, about equal to 2 rather than 3 underlying cells.
  • Very long abdomen (53-54 mm) has abdominal segments 3-6 distinctly orange darkening to almost bleck toward and widening to brightly white pruinose,abdominal segments 8-10, but only the latter stands out in the gloom.
  • Headwater streams shaded by forest. Often with a gravelly and/or sandy bottom, and probably overhanging branches, submerged roots and/or coarse detritus.
  • From 200 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly between 400 and 1400
  • Males hang motionlessly in vegetation near deeply shaded rainforest streams, typically in mountainous area
Compared with other species:
  • Due to the region this species is found comparison data is not required
  • The The abdomen colour and white marks on Segments 8-10 is diagnostic

Genus Nubiolestes Genus Distribution Map July 2021







  • Unique within its range from south-eastern Nigeria to southern Gabon
Further reading: