Painted Sprite, Pseudagrion hageni, Blanketselgesie 

101 085 Pseudagrion hageni Race Hageni Painted Sprite Male Oribi Gorge Margate LP RSA December 2010
100 425  Tzaneen LP RSA Mch 2016r 1
100 418 Pseudagrion hageni Painted Sprite Male Moreletta GP RSA Jan 2017r 1
Short description:

Painted Sprite, Pseudagrion hageni, Blanketselgesie is small to medium-sized slender,damselfly with an orangered face.and apple green or orange/red  thorax marks.

Family Coenagrionidae Kirby, 1890

More Images

100 417 Pseudagrion hageni Painted Sprite Male Lajuma Nature Reserve LP RSA Dec 2018r 7










Click on all images to enlarge or view more

Key identification features:


Northern form (P. h. tropicanum):

  • Face bright orangey red with light orange labrum and black postclypeus. Head dull black from above with bright orange postocular spots linked by an orange bar.
  • Eyes deep red above, orange below. Neck black with orange and light green spots.
  • Thorax with light green and black stripes, green stripes continuing under first part of abdomen.
  • Wings clear. Pterostigmas light to deep reddish brown.
  • Abdomen slender, black with bronze sheen. Segments 8 and 9 bright violet above. Segment 10 black with a violet coloured triangle pointing towards the front margin when viewed from above.
  • Overall size variable.

Southern form (P. h. hageni)::;

  • Thorax orangey red and black striped.


  • Pale green/brown and black, brown becoming light blue with age, postocular spots light brownish blue joined by a bar, end of segment 8 and segments 9 and 10 light brownish blue.
  • Occurs in shaded to darkish parts of slow flowing streams and rivers, seeps, bogs and lakes with clear water and marginal tall grasses,with clear water and marginal tall grasses,and a tangle of undergrowth
  • From 0 to 2000 m above sea level, but mostly below 1600.
  • Rests on reed stems or grasses over or near running water
Compared with other species:
  • Easily identified by the bright colours and violet abdominal tip (Segments 8 - 9 ) 
  • P. hageni not as bright as P. newtoni.
  • P. hageni abdominal segments 8 - 9 violet. P. newtoni. abdominal segments 8 - 9 blue/grey.
  • P. newtoni has bright orange and green thorax. P. h. hageni is a red subspecies with ais a red subspecies with a distinctly red thorax. P. h. tropicanum has a greenish thorax
Pseudagrion hageni Painted Sprite Distribution Map July 2020










South Africa

  • Southern form (P. h.southern form (P. h.hageni ) occurs occurs in WCp along the coast to the ECP.
  • Northern form (P. h. tropicanum) occurs from central ECP  northwards to East and West Africa.


Botswana; Burundi; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Republic of South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe

Further reading


Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 663410
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online


Right Click

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