White Malachite.    Chlorolestes umbratus     Bleekmalagiet.   Flag of South Africa.svg

108 005 Chlorolestes umbratus White Malachite Male Koegelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015

108 006 Chlorolestes umbratus White Malachite Male Koegelberg Western Cape 10 04 2016

117 037 Chlorolestes umbratus White Malachite unbanded

Family Synlestidae Tillyard, 1917

Short description:

Medium sized, with black & white wing bands and a heavily pruinescent dorsal thorax and light blue/grey abdominal tip segments.

More mages:

103 028 Chlorolestes umbratus White MalachiteImage Gallery










 Click on all images to enlarge or view more

Key identification features:


  • Length 42-44-47mm ♂; 35-37-38mm ♀; wingspan 46-48-52mm ♂;
  • Face bright metallic green or bluish green, with yellowish brown genae (area next to face), Labrum glossy bluish black
  • Thorax highly pruinescent pale bluish grey almost white in mature males (diagnostic). The yellow stripes broaden towards the wing basis. Young male striped dull yellow and greenish brown.
  • Eyes above dark brown in young males, greyish black in older males, and dull yellow below.
  • Wings strongly black and white banded in mature male, but clear in young male. Single row of cells between the IR2 and R3 veins.
  • Pterostigmas all buff, darkening with age to a reddish brown. Always mono-coloured
  • Abdomen dull metallic green. S 9- 10 lightly pruinescent, greyish blue. S 8 lightly pruinescent on older males


  • Young female very similar to young, unbanded male
  • Wings always clear
  • No pruinescence on thorax. S8 lightly pruinescent, S9-10 heavily pruinescent.
  • Banded form with very light grey thorax and black & white banded wings. Unbanded form with brownish thorax and clear wings. Pterostigmas are short and pale reddish brown. t.
Compared with other species:
Distribution and habitat:

Chlorolestes umbratus White Malachite Distribution Map May 2020Endemic to South Africa, and restricted to the Southern and Eastern Cape fynbos and forests.
Fast or slow, deep or shallow forested streams with sunflecks occasionally in more open
streams with bushes.
Inferred to occur from 0 to 1000 m above sea level, but mostly below 700, although possibly up to 1700.

  • Hangs from twigs and reeds over water. Favours patching in sunlight. Mostly at rest
further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species   ENDANGERED
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660060
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

Credit to Michael J. Samways & John P. Simaika:  Manual of Freshwater Assessment for South Africa: Dragonfly Biotic Index




Right Click

Copyrighted material - contact us if you want to buy a photo