103 026 Chlorolestes tessellatus Forest Malachite 103 037 Chlorolestus teslatus Forest Malachite Sharon 3 103 039 Chlorolestus teslatus Forest Malachite Sharon 2

Forest Malachite    Woudmalagiet   south africa map   Africa

Family Synlestidae Tillyard, 1917

This species may in the near future be combined with Mountain Malachite, Chlorolestes fasciatus

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103 037 Chlorolestus teslatus Forest Malachite Sharon 3
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Short description:

Fairly large to large sized. metallic green damselfly with pale yellow markings, usually with strongly marked, black and white banded wings.

Key identification features:


  • Length 49- 53-57 mm ♂; 47-50-51 mm ♀;wingspan 55-59-68 mm ♂;
  • Face mostly dull metallic with some dull yellow patches.
  • Eyes greenish grey with some brown.
  • Thorax dull metallic green darkening to coppery brown with age. outlined by dull yellow stripes from above, sides and underside mostly pale yellow with some pruinecence below. The upper  stripes broad and dark (broader and darker the the Mountain Malachite). The lower stripe are broad  and with the forehalf yellow becoming brown towards the rear half
  • Wings in the Eastern Cape, with strongly marked black and white banded wings. In the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province,wings clear; some individuals in open habitats in KwaZulu-Natal with weakly banded wings. Pterostigmas cream or light brown outside, very dark brown inside darkening to a uniform brown with age..
  • Abdomen dull metallic green from above, somewhat yellowish at sides darkening to a coppery brown with age. Segments 9 and 10 with whitish grey pruinescence. Upper clasper down-turned towards the tip. Lower clasper branched curved inwards to the point.


  • Similar in colour and patterning to male,, although wings always clear and never banded, only light pruinescence on segments 9 and 10.
Compared with other species:
Distribution and habitat:
  • Mostly along rivers and streams or headwaters, in open landscapes, open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Often calmer sections (like pools) with emergent vegetation, coarse detritus, rocks and/or a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly between 1100 and 2100.
  • 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).
  • Mostly at rest with outstretched wings on vegetation overhanging water.
Further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=660130 Books
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa    p. 34
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 55
Dragonfly Biotic Index   p. 47
Websites of interest:
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species    Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660130

Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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