Swarthy Sprite, Pseudagrion hamoni, Donkergesie. B group

100 1632 Swarthy Male Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017

100 1630 Pseudagrion harmoni Swarthy Sprite Marloth Park Sept 2016

101 090 Pseudagrion hamoni Swarthy Sprite Pair Tshipise LP RSA October 2015

Short Description:
  • Swarthy Sprite. Pseudagrion hamoni. Donkergesie. B group Small to medium sized, mostly dull maroon and blackish with large green postocular spots that disappear with age.
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Short Description:

Small to medium sized, mostly dull maroon and blackish. The colour varies according to age. When young, it has green thorax with stripes that blackens with age. Large green postocular spots that disappear with age. Top front and bottom half of eye are red. Pale tibia. S8 and S9 are blue, indented with black on the outer edge of each segment.

Key identification features:

Male ♂

  • Face black and dark brownish red coloured, with maroon labrum, clypeus and genae (side of the head) and a black frons
  • Head above is black, with large green to blueish green postocular spots that become dark purple before disappearing  with age. Postocular spots may be linked with a green becoming brown with age, bar
  • Top front and bottom half of eye is deep red with a blackish brown horizontal ring in the middle
  • When young it has green thorax with broad black dorsal and humeral stripes. Thorax of. he older male is black with bronze sheen above with maroon to dark brown stripes. Lower part of the sides of the thorax is blue with light pruinescence becoming very heavy with age Legs distinct. Femur grey with distinct orange tibia and tarsus 
  • Wings are clear, with reddish brown pterostigmas. Pterostigmas become dark brown with age. Blue spots are between wings bases, becoming pruinescent with age. With age the the thorax pruinose to become whitish from the lower thorax upward including leg upper legs
  • Upper part of the abdomen is black with greenish bronze sheen. Below it is light green with black spots at the far end of each segment. Light green rings between the each of the segments 3 to 7. Segment 1-2 is above heavy pruinescence. S7 is all black. S8-9 bright blue separated at joint between S8 and S9 by a fine, black, scallop edged ring. S9 has a terminal black scalloped saddle stretching into the back half of the segment. (Sometimes S8 has also a terminal black scalloped saddle). In old individuals S8-9 become light grey with heavy pruinescence


  • Buff to greenish face and the eyes are light green below
  • Postocular spots are greenish 
  • Thorax is buff with narrow black humeral(shoulder) stripe and greenish sides. Lower part of the thorax is blue
  • Upper side of the abdomen is metallic greenish-black and light greenish buff below 
  • Common Savanna species. 
  • Frequents of still water habitats with floating vegetation.
  • From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1400, although possibly up to 2600.
  • Perches on grass stems hanging over water and on the floating vegetation and lilies in the water.
Compared with other species:
  • Top front and bottom half of eye of the Pseudagrion harmoni is red
  • Eye of the Black Sprite (Pseudagrion commoniae) is black on top and the bottom part is red
  • Tibia of P. harmoni is pale yelowish  whereas the tibia of P. commoniae is black.
  • P. harmoni has a striped thorax and P. commoniae has a plain black thorax.
  • P, commoniae has no postocular spots and the postocular spots of the Pseudagrion harmoni are green,  similar to P. acaciae Acacia Sprite 

Pseudagrion hamoni Swarthy Sprite Distribution Map July 2020








South Africa 

  • North eastern parts of South Africa extending southwards to northeast KZN.  


  • Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of Guinea; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading