Amatola Malachite Amatola Malagiet
Also called Basking Malachite
Family Synlestidae Tillyard, 1917. True Malachites
- Chlorolestes apricans Wilmot, 1975
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Chlorolestes apricans, Amatola Malachite, medium-sized, with striking, metallic green to copper body with white pruinescent patches on prothorax and synthorax between wing bases. Wings can be clear or banded (Blueish white with brown towards the outside).The smallest Malachite found in South Africa.
Key identification features:
- Length 34- 36-38mm ♂; 35--37-38mm ♀;wingspan 43-45-46mm ♂;Pterostigmas 1.7-1.8-2.0mm
- Face is all shiny, metallic green to gold or copper, but genae and center of anteclypeus dull yellow. Labrum metallic green.
- Eyes are light to dark brown above, light greyish blue below.
- Prothorax (behind the head), between the wings, and first segment of abdomen develops heavy whitish pruinescence. Thorax is metallic green to gold or copper above, deep yellow to sienna below. Prominent parts of dorsal surface of synthorax between wings are markedly pruinescent whitish-grey.
- Wings are usually strongly banded black and white, but sometimes clear to slightly smoky.
- Pterostigmas are yellowish buff, slightly darker on the inside, darkening to all brown with age .Mono-coloured
- Abdomen is bright metallic green with fine yellow rings at the start of each segment. S1 above and S8-10 above strongly pruinescent.
- Very similar to male, but wing bases are lightly pruinescent. S1 and s 8 pruinescent, and s 9-10 heavily whitish pruinescent.
Compared with other species:
- Chlorolestes apricans is the smallest of all Chlorolestes species
- The only other Chlorolestes species in Amatola-Winterberg region of South Africa are C. fasciatus (Mountain malachite) and C. tessellatus (Forrest Malachite), both of which also have banded wings in the ECP, but both species are much larger (more than 50 mm long).
- C. apricans and C. fasciatus can be in the same habitat (open, sunny, grassy streams), C. tessellatus, (in forest), but are separated on shape of hind margin of s 10 and on appendages.
- The only other small Chlorolestes species is C. umbratus (White Malachite), of the southern Cape coastal area, which has a very pruinescent synthorax and, in side view, hooked superior appendages. Labrum is metallic green, in both male and female C. apricans, but black in male and female C. umbratus.
Distribution and habitat:
- Endemic to South Africa and highly endangered due to habitat destruction.
- Inhabits clear, shallow, rocky streams with riffles and glides and with an abundance of long grass, herbs and indigenous overhanging bushes (used as oviposition sites).
- Reluctant flyer, usually seen perching on grass stems or reeds over the edge of streams in full sunshine.