White Malachite. Bleekmalagiet.
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White Malachite, Chlorolestes umbratus, Genus Chlorolestes, Family Synlestidae, medium sized, with black & white wing bands and a heavily pruinescent dorsal thorax and light blue/grey abdominal tip segments.
Key identification features:
- Length 42-44-47mm ♂; 35-37-38mm ♀; wingspan 46-48-52mm ♂;
- Face bright metallic green or bluish green, with yellowish brown genae (area next to face), Labrum glossy bluish black
- Thorax highly pruinescent pale bluish grey almost white in mature males (diagnostic). The yellow stripes broaden towards the wing basis. Young male striped dull yellow and greenish brown.
- Eyes above dark brown in young males, greyish black in older males, and dull yellow below.
- Wings strongly black and white banded in mature male, but clear in young male. Single row of cells between the IR2 and R3 veins.
- Pterostigmas all buff, darkening with age to a reddish brown. Always mono-coloured
- Abdomen dull metallic green. S9- 10 lightly pruinescent, greyish blue. S8 lightly pruinescent on older males
- Young female very similar to young, unbanded male
- Wings always clear
- No pruinescence on thorax. S8 lightly pruinescent, S9-10 heavily pruinescent.
- Banded form with very light grey thorax and black & white banded wings. Unbanded form with brownish thorax and clear wings. Pterostigmas are short and pale reddish brown. t.
Compared with other species:
- C. umbratus is the only smallish, Chlorolestes banded-wing, forest dwelling species in the southern Cape
C. umbratus is the only Chlorolestes species with single row of cells between the IR2 and R3 veins in the hindwing.
- Similar to Chlorolestes apricans (Amatola Malachite) in Eastern Cape which has bronze and not a heavily pruinescent thorax as in this species.
- Female C. umbratus and C. apricans similar. C. apricans labrum metallic green but black on C. umbratus
- One of three Malachite species with mono-coloured Pterostigmas (C. apricans and C. conspicuus Conspicius Malachite)
Distribution and habitat:
- Endemic to South Africa, and restricted to the Southern and Eastern Cape fynbos and forests.
- Fast or slow, deep or shallow forested streams with sunflecks occasionally in more open streams with bushes.
- Hangs from twigs and reeds over water. Favours patching in sunlight. Mostly at rest