100 000 Phaon iridipennis Glistening Demoiselle Male Marlothpark MP RSA Apr 2017r 4 100 171 Phaon iridipennis glistening Demoiselle Female KZN RSA Mch 2017r 5 100 172 Phaon iridipennis Glistening Demoiselle Female Marlothpark MP RSA Apr 2017r 1

Glistening Demoiselle.       Glinsterjuffertjie

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100 000 Phaon iridipennis Glistening Demoiselle Male Marlothpark MP RSA Apr 2017r 4
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Glistening Demoiselle, Phaon iridipennis, Genus Phaon, Family Calopterygidae, very large, ground-living, metallic, greenish brown, with large, rounded, glistening wings made up of dense and delicate netlike veins At rest sitting with wings held at a 35° angle.

Key identification features:


  • The largest damselfly in South Africa
  • Face is buff colour, with green and brown.
  • Eyes are dark green brown above, with lower part light green.
  • Thorax is buff colour, brown with metallic green and buff coloured stripes.
  • Wings are very large, rounded and glistening, becoming smoky with age.
  • Pterostigmas light brown that turns dark with age. Abdomen metallic green with brownish rings at the segmental joints.


  • Very similar to males, but less metallic.
Similarities with other species:
  • Unmistakable due to size, habitat and the way the wings are held when sitting.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Warmer eastern and northern parts of South Africa.
  • Like bushy undergrowth, on or close to the ground. Sometime seen at the edge of forest clearings.
  • Near fast flowing streams
  • Seldom flies. Normally sit on twigs in the horizontal position.
Further reading: 

A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 24
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa
   p. 46
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa   p. 30
Warwick Tarboton
Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
The IUCN red list of Threarened Species
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660580 
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa

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