Cherry-eye Sprite, Pseudagrion sublacteum,  Kersieoog-gesie. Group B

100 746 Pseudagrion sublacteum Cherry eye Sprite Male Songimvelo Nature Reserve MP RSA Feb 2019r 2

100 744 Pseudagrion sublacteum Cherry eye Sprite Male Parys NCP RSA Jan 2016r 7

100 764 Pseudagrion sublacteum Cherry eye Sprite Male GhomoKgome NWP RSA Apr 2017r 1

Short Description:

Cherry-eye Sprite, Pseudagrion sublacteum,  Kersieoog-gesie. Group B  is medium sized with a red face and the thorax striped bluish black and reddish brown to mauvish brown above

Family Coenagrionidae     Kirby, 1890
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Key identification features:


  • Face brick red with fine black tracery. Labrum brick red. Frons and vertex in front brick red,rest of head blackish with deep mauve to reddish brown postocular spots joined by bar of same colour. Back of head bright green, darkening with age. Face and head very hairy.
  • Eyes bright red in front, upper hind quarter area black (dark brown) with lower quarter area  greenish blue.
  • Neck black with purple brown spots, sides pruinescent greyish green.
  • Thorax striped bluish black and reddish brown to mauvish brown above, becoming purplish brown to almost dark grey with age, sides light blue becoming increasingly dark and pruinescent with age. Bright pruinescent white spots between wing bases becoming greyish with age. Sides of thorax very hairy.
  • Wings clear. Pterostigmas yellowish brown to reddish brown, becoming purplish brown with age.
  • Abdomen black with a bronze sheen above, pale green below, central abdominal segments have black wedges and fine pale green rings, giving the abdomen a striped appearance when viewed from side. Segments 8 and 9 bright blue with fine black ring at end of both segments. Segment 10 black above, blue at sides.


  • Eyes with brown cap above with lighter brownish band followed by a darker band becoming blue green to light blue green below. With age the brown cap becomes distinctly brownish green and the lighter brown band becomes dark greenish brown. The lower half of the eye becomes greenish above to light green below giving an overall greenish colour to the eye.
  • Distinct black bar join eyes on frons behind the vertex.
  • Large brownish postocular spots bound by a bar of the same colour..
  • Thorax light brown above, pale greenish brown below. With age dorsal area darkens, with the sides becoming  green below the humeral area becoming grey blue pruinosed  
  • Wings clear with small light brown pterostigmas 
  • Abdomen with a series of increasing large black spots and stripes on each segment giving end of abdomen a blackish look.. Broad rectangular patch stretching to near the lower margin of S8 S 10 Blue S9 blue at lower half forming a triangular shape pointing towards the hind margin.

Frequents of sedge, grasses and reeds of streams, small rivers, natural pools and ponds

River Reed Rapid Leselo Lodge LP RSA Oct 2020r 2








  • It perches on algae mats, twigs, weeds and reeds, and sometimes on boulders in the fast-flowing current.
Compared with other species:


  • Pseudagrion sublacteum (Cherry-eye Sprite) is duller and more purplish than P. acacia (Acacia Sprite), P. sjoestedti (Variable Sprite), P. vaalense. (Vaal Sprite)
  • P. massaicum (Masai Sprite)has red thoracic sides, but light blue in P. sublacteum.
  • P. acacia  has greenish postocular spots whereas they are mauvish, reddish brown in P. sublacteum.
  • P. sublacteum has a distinct black transverse bar across top of head, like P. massaicum and P. vaalense, but unlike P. acaciae and P. sjoestedti which have only fine black lines and tracery.
  • The abdomen of P. sublacteum at a distance looks distinctly ringed, black and pale green.
  • P. sublacteum and P. hamoni are similar, but has a black frons which is reddish in P. sublacteum
  • S9 in P. hamoni ends in a wide black saddle, while in P. sublacteum it is a fine, black ring.
  • Black mark on female abdomen S 7  stretches to near the lower bottom carina. Similar to P. masaaicum and P commoniae (Black Sprite)
  • Eye of P. massaicum similar to P. sublacteum and P. acaciae but with brown cap
  • P sublacteum and P hamoni have distinct black band on frons joining the eyes.
  • P sublacteum with beige, P massaicum with orange, P hamoni with greenish and P acacia with less distinct greenish postocular spots.
Pseudagrion sublacteum Cherry eye Spritet Distribution Map Dec 2020 Map
South Africa
  • The Cherry-eye Sprite occurs from central KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It also occurs along the Orange River in the Northern Cape.
  • It occurs north to West Africa, Arabia and Israel, and also occurs on Mayotte Island in the Indian Ocean
  • Angola; Benin; Botswana; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of Guinea; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading:

Website of interest:

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