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.

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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:


  • Head above is black with squarish bluish green patch with two forward-pointing markings that is triangular and, light orange.
  • Face and eyes are black.
  • Thorax above is black with a cream to bluish green, central line and spot. Synthorax sides with black, orange and red stripes
  • Legs are legs leaf-like and bright red on the front and white on the back.
  • Wings are clear but a little smoky at the base with black pterostigmas.


  • Yellowish brown striped thorax and abdomen.
Compared with other species:
  • A. fitzsimonsi (Bouder Jewel) has a blue, black and red upper abdomen.
  • P. caligata has an all blue upper abdomen.
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.
  • 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
 Further reading:
Dancing Jewel (Platycypha caligata)
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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