100 052 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Mooinooi NWP RSA MCH 2015r 5 100 057 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Young Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 100 001 Dancing jewel Female Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2015 r 1 of 1

Dancing Jewel.     Klipjuweeltjie.     Africa

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Images Male Female
100 052 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Mooinooi NWP RSA MCH 2015r 5 100 002 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NWP RSA Jan 2016r 2 102 016 2018 01 31 Ezemvelo klein kop toraks
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Short description:

Dancing Jewel, Platycypha caligata, Genus Platycypha, Family Chlorocyphidae, is small, stocky, with a colourful thorax, orange, red and black, upper abdomen brilliant blue, legs leaf-like and bright red on the front and white on the back.

Key identification features:

Male

  • Face all black, head with almost square bluish green patch with two forward pointing, light orange, triangular markings when viewed from above. Neck blackish with orange splashes. Distinct pig-like snouted nose. 100 006 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NP RSA Jan 2016 r 11 of 11
  • Eyes dark brown to black  100 006 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NP RSA Jan 2016 r 11 of 11 
  • Thorax above is black with a cream to bluish green, central line and spot. Synthorax sides with black, orange and red stripes 100 049 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NP RSA Jan 2016 r 5 of 11  100 049 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NP RSA Jan 2016 r 5 of 11
  • Legs are legs leaf-like and bright red on the front and white on the back.  100 002 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NWP RSA Jan 2016r 2
  • Wings are clear but a little smoky at the base with black pterostigmas.
  • Abdomen stocky, almost entirely bright blue (change from dark blue when cold to light grey/blue when warm), first three segments with deep red and black markings at the base. Segmental joints marked by fine black rings. 100 155 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NWP RSA Jan 2016r 1    Appendages black. Inferior appendage pincer-like and long. Superior appendages has gently rounded blade on tip
  • Young males  100 057 Platycypha calgata Dancing Jewel Young Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 and females similar 101 019 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Tshipise December 2015 11

Females:

  • Thorax pattern similar to male, 102 016 2018 01 31 Ezemvelo klein kop toraks overall yellow to buff mottled with blackish brown markings. Pterostigmas black with buff centre.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Endemic to Tropical Africa. In South Africa not visible in the dry central parts and the Western Cape.
  • Favours exposed streams and rivers of the north, east and south eastern parts of South Africa.
Behaviour:
  • Mostly resting on boulders, twigs or leaf blades in/over the water.
  • Flight is short, strong and bee-like.
  • Has an elaborate court ship dance where the male hovers in front of the resting female, with legs dangling and waving, with the white very conspicuous. This dancing display in flight is the origin of the name Dancing Jewel
Compared with other species:
  • A. fitzsimonsi (Boulder Jewel) has a blue, black and red upper abdomen. 117 042 Platycypha fitzsimonsi Boulder Jewel
  • P. caligata has an all blue upper abdomen.100 155 Platycypha caligata Dancing Jewel Buffelspoort NWP RSA Jan 2016r 1
 Further reading:
Dancing Jewel (Platycypha caligata)
Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa    p 26
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p 49
Dragonfly Biotic Index   p 38
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Namibia     P70
Websites of interest:
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 661180
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
The IUCR Red list of threatened Species       Least Concern 
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies
Morphology of a Dragonfly and Damselfly
Map of South Africa
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