Sprites

Order ODONATA Fabricius, 1793

General

The Genus Pseudagrion is divided into the A- and B-group. The differences between the group may to a new genus  being created when more research is completed.

Distribution Worldwide
  • Pseudagrion is the largest genus of damselfly in the family Coenagrionidae,[2] with over 140 species.
  • Its range includes most of Africa, much of Asia, and Australia.
  • Africa holds most of the diversity with almost 100 species.
  • It has occupied most of the freshwater habitats in its range, and dominates damselfly communities in habitats as different as desert pools, equatorial rainforests and montane streams.

Distribution in Africa and surrounding Islands

On the African continent, the genus comprises two distinct groups:

  • The "A-group" has about 45 species - they are predominantly highland species and males lack spines on S10;
  • The "B-group" has about 25 species - mainly from lowlands and males have spines on S10. 
  • A third Afrotropical group comprises 31 species from the forest streams of Madagascar and the Comores.

General identification features

A-group

  • Mainly slender, fairly small to fairly large (hindwing 17-29 mm), black damselflies with colourful accents on head, thorax and abdominal segments 7-10.

B-group

  • Small to medium-sized (hindwing 14-24 mm), generally paler than those of the A-group, but diverse in the extent of black, bright colours and pruinosity.
Habitat

A-group

  • Favour relatively cool habitats, e.g. shaded, running and/or elevated, those species inhabiting more open habitats tending to become densely pruinose.

B-group

  • Inhabit relatively warm habitats, i.e. more often open, stagnant or temporary. Many have broad ecological and geographic ranges.
General Description

A-group

  • Male of group similar to Pseudagrion B;
    • Relatively small in size, Hindwing under 35 mm, Abdomen under 40 mm;
    • Postocular spots often present 
    • Transverse ridge on frons absent
    • Abdomen never with orange or red, but often with blue;
    • Black markings usually more extensive, humeral stripe usually present, if absent body often with blue
    • Frontwing quadrilateral with anterior border clearly shorter than distal border
    • Arculus stands at or closer to Ax2.
    • Pruinosity is common within the A_group
  • Male of group differs by
    • Apex of S10 bearing black denticles.

B-group

  • Male of group similar to Pseudagrion A;
    • Relatively small in size,.
    • Hindwing under 35 mm, Abdomen under 40 mm;
    • Postocular spots often present
    • Transverse ridge on frons absent
    • Abdomen never with orange or red, but often with blue
    • Black markings usually more extensive, humeral stripe usually present, if absent body often with blue
    • Frontwing quadrilateral with anterior border clearly shorter than distal border;
    • Arculus stands at or closer to Ax2.
    • Pruinosity is uncommon within the B_group
  • Male of group differs by
    • Metapleural suture often with black stripe, rather than black dot at dorsal end;
    • S8-9 often at least laterally marked with black;
    • Apex of S10 widely and smoothly excised, rather than narrow excision;
    • Apex of S10 without black denticles, but may have lobes
    • Cerci usually with two distinct branches and paraprocts often pointed but without spine or inferior bulge (lateral view).

Synopsis

  • Only images of males shown
  • Selected in random order as illustration of the B-group sprites
  • Images do not represent the African species list

Examples of Sprite A-group

100 437 Pseudagrion citricola Yellow faced Sprite Old Male Bronkhorstspruit GP RSA Sept 2015r 6Pseudagrion citricola
Yellow faced Sprite 

100 575 Male Enuokeni KZN RSA Feb 2020r 2Pseudagrion draconis,
Mountain Sprite.

108 023 Pseudagrion furcigerrum Palmiet Sprite Male Kogelberg Western Cape 19 10 2016Pseudagrion furcigerrum
Palmiet Sprite 

100 459 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Male Mac Mac Falls Sabi MP RSA Febr 2020r 3Pseudagrion newtoni
Harlequin Sprite 

100 107 Pseudagrion salisbryense Slate Sprite Male WSBG GP RSA Dec 2014r 1Pseudagrion salisbryense,
Slate Sprite

Examples of Sprite B-group

100 173 Pseudagrion acaciae Acacia Sprite Male Old Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 3Pseudagrion acaciae
Acacia Sprite

100 577 Catshead Sprite Male Rust de Winters Dec 2016r 4Pseudagrion coeleste
Catshead Sprite.

100 1630 Pseudagrion harmoni Swarthy Sprite Marloth Park Sept 2016r 5Pseudagrion harmoni
Swarthy Sprite. 

100 597 Ischnura senegalensis Tropical Bluetail Male Kromdraai Dec 2016r 2Pseudagrion massaicum
Masai Sprite.

100 623 Pseudagrion vaalense Vaal Sprite Parys GP RSA Jan 2016r 5Pseudagrion vaalense
Vaal Sprite,

[Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

 

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