100 482 Pseudagrion spernatum Upland Sprite Male Sabi LP RSA Dec 2015r 4100 484 Pseudagrion spernatum Upland Sprite Young Male Sabi LP RSA Dec 2015r 1100 493 Pseudagrion spernatum Upland Sprite Female Sabi LP RSA Sep 2016r 2

Upland Sprite    Hooglandgesie   

Previously called Powder Sprite

Family Coenagrionidae Kirby, 1890

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100 458 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Male Mac Mac Falls Sabi MP RSA Febr 2020r 1Images100 496 Pseudagrion spernatum Upland Sprite Sabi MP RSA Febr 2020r 3Male100 509 Chlorolestes fasciatus Mountain Malachiteale Female Close up Tsaneen LP RSA Dec 2015r 2Female

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Short Description:

Medium sized with green and slate blue marks on the thorax and all dark slate blue abdomen.

Key identification features:


  • Face greenish with heavy white pruinescence. Labrum green or greenish blue with three basal black spots, edged with black. Cheeks lime green. Anteclypeus green to greenish blue. Head black above, heavily pruinescentin front. Postocular spots large, roundish,bright blue.
  • Eyes black above, lime green below.Neck dark slate blue above with greenish sides that become pruinescent.
  • Thorax dark slate blue becoming heavily whitish pruinescent, sides light green. Wings clear. Pterostigmas bright reddish brown. Wing veins brownish when young.
  • Abdomen dark slate blue above, greyish blue below, becoming heavily whitish pruinescent with age. Yong males has distinct blue pattern on s 7- 10 disappearing with age.


  • Striking, light sky blue and black with distinct round blue postocular spots, Abdomen blackish above, greenish below.Segments 8 to 10 bright blue above with distinct patterns on S 9- 0
Compared with other species:
  • When mature, it is very distinctive being all dark slate blue with an all pruinescent whitish, powdery covering. 
  • Powder face  marking can be confused with Powder-faced Sprite P. kersteni, Mountain Sprite P. draconis (cohabit)
  • Young easily confused with Slate Sprite Pseudagrion salisburyense, as both have roundish blue postocular spots and blue abdominal tips.
  • Female abdominal  segment 8 - 10 similar t o female Palmiet Sprite, P, furcigerum
  • Pterostigmas also lighter and distinctly reddish P. spernatumin whereas they are darker, duller and more blackish in P. salisburyense.
Distribution and habitat:

http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=3&spp=663610Widespread and locally abundant throughout the mountains from the southern Cape to Mpumalanga and 
Limpopo Province and north to Ethiopia
Mostly streams, but also rivers, in open landscapes, but sometimes shaded by gallery forest.
Usually with emergent vegetation and often rocks and a gravelly bottom clear mountain streams,
probably especially calmer (like pools) and faster sections (rapids, falls).
From 0 to 2900 m above sea level, but mostly between 900 and 2000.

  • Perches on the grasses surrounding flowing rocky stream where it is actively hunting therefore easily seen. Females often seen with males. Perch horizontally close to the water.
Further reading:

Websites of interest
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Warwick Tarboton 
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 663610

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


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