Vaal Sprite. Vaalriviergesie.
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Medium sized with a bright orange head and thorax.
Key identification features:
- Head brownish in front but dull black towards the rear. Very large round dull brown postocular spots, linked by bar of same colour. Back of head pale green. Note: Only the postocular spots and bar are encircled by a black area. Face (Vertex and frons) orange red. Postclypeus distinctly black. Anticlypeus brown. Labrum black. Neck dull black with rusty brown spots.
- Eyes bright red in front, black behind and above, pale green behind below.
- Thorax bright rusty to reddish brown above, sides greyish blue or green, but can form a narrow band of light brown with age, becoming heavily pruinescent below. (When light brown care must be taken not to misidentify with Masai Sprite, P. massaicum). Humeral stripe continuous broad black with upward kink returning to the same plane as before the kink ending at the wings. Pruinescent pale blue spots present between wing bases. but not diagnostic.
- Wings clear. Pterostigmas rusty brown to reddish brown.
- Abdomen shiny black above, light sage green below. S 1-2 becoming blue with age black above .Broad pale green rings present at beginning of each of segments 3 to 7. Segments 8 and 9 bright blue with fine terminal black rings. Segment 10 narrow blue ring at front margin with large black saddle.
- Light brown with fine black lines on thorax
- top of abdomen dull black, light yellowish brown below. S 10 creamy brown .
Compared with other species:
- Pseudagrion massaicum is bright orange and the only one of the red heads with bright orange or brown sides of the thorax.
- Pseudagrion massaicum has large bright reddish brown dumbbell-shaped postocular spots linked by a reddish brown bar.
- Postocular spots of the Pseudagrion acacia are green, Pseudagrion sjoestedti and Pseudagrion vaalense are smaller and light-orange, Pseudagrion sublacteum are yellowish brown
- Pseudagrion massaicum has all blue S8 and S9 with small black dorsal marking and the end of each segment.
Distribution and habitat:
Endemic to the endemic central Highveld of South Africa along the Vaal and Orange river systems
Rivers in open landscapes or shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent vegetation.
From 0 to 1600 m above sea level, but mostly between 1300 and 1500.
- Peches often in grasses or stationary floting detritus sometimes on grass stems or rocky shores Hunts by flying out over the streams returning to perch.
Websites of Interest
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 663920
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
The IUCN red list of Threatened Species (Least Concern)
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa