100 158 Africallagma fractum Slender Bluet Male Haenertsburg LP RSA Dec 2015r 2 100 055 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Mooinooi NWP RSA MCH 2015r 20 100 154 Lestes dissimulans Cryptic Spreadwing Male Mabusa Nature Reserve MP RSA Dec 2017r 1

Damselflies
Order ODONATA

Suborder ZYGOPTERA Selys, 1854

Distribution Worldwide

  • Worldwide about eighteen families are recognised, but these numbers require revision with increasing phylogenetic

Distribution in Africa and surrounding Islands

  • Eleven families are found in Africa.
  • Six families in South Africa
  • Several species endemic to South Africa, especially species found in the Western Cape Province

General identification features

  • Damselflies are generally small and slender with a weak flight. though the chlorocyphids (Jewels 100 055 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Mooinooi NWP RSA MCH 2015r 20) and especially calopterygids (Demoiselles 101 016 Phaon iridipennis Glistening Demoiselle Tshipise May 2014 11) are more robust and strong.
  • Wings are usually folded together above and beside the abdomen while settled100 055 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Mooinooi NWP RSA MCH 2015r 20 , but held open in some genera. (Spreadwings 100 154 Lestes dissimulans Cryptic Spreadwing Male Mabusa Nature Reserve MP RSA Dec 2017r 1 and Malachites)
  • Eyes are widely separated by the head 100 068 Lestes dissimulans Cryptic Spreadwing Male RNR LP RSA Dec 2017r 11
Habitat
  • Occupy a considerable variety of habitats, but many species, and some families, have their own specific environmental requirements. Some species prefer flowing waters, while others prefer standing water. Well grasses banks with emergent vegetation, coarse detritus Lilly pads, rocks and/or a soft (like muddy) bottom
  • Vegetation and its characteristics including submerged, floating, emergent, or waterside are also important. Adults may require emergent or waterside plants to use as perches; others may need specific submerged or floating plants on which to lay eggs. Requirements may be highly specific
Behaviour:
  • Some damselflies, particularly males, may be  territorial. Some defend a territory against others of their own or dragonfly species species.
  • Often found in grassy areas away from water flitting in and out of the grass catching small insects of grass leaves
  • Often perch in a hanging pose. or sitting in a horizontal position on leaves, branches, rocks or other convenient resting or hunting spots
  • Some species prefer dappled shade in forest openings or streams
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