Slate Sprite Leiblougesie
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Slate sprite, Pseudagrion salisburyense, Genus Pseudagrion (A–group), Family Coenagrionidae, small to medium sized, marked by a dark slate blue pruinosity especially on the thorax. Eyes are black above and green below. The blue colour of the postocular spots as well as S8 and S9 are much brighter than the pruinosity of thorax
Key identification features:
- Note:- Colour and markings vary within the species. Stipes may be narrow and broaden becoming fuzzy edged and colour becomes more grey pruinose with age
- Face is blue-green pruinosed with green labrum. No pruinosity on the forehead. The head above is black, with round, bright blue postocular spots.Neck brown
- Eyes are black above and green below.
- Thorax has no side stripes and the upper thorax is plain dark slate blue with a mauve sheen. The sides of the thorax are green becoming heavily pruinescent with age.
- Wings are clear with dark reddish brown pterostigmas becoming black with age.
- Abdomen is black above with a metallic bronze sheen and buff-greenish below, becoming slate blue pruinescent. S 8-9 have blue patches (saddles), which varies from blue to mauve (purpie grey) and light grey (pruinose) with age. Abdomen buff /black below and becoming pruinescent light grey. S 10 is black above becoming pruinescent light greyish-blue.
- Note:- Variations in colour and markings vary within the species more so with age.
- Dichromatic with a blue form and brown form.
- Postocular spots are light blue, joined by a brownish bar.
- Thorax can be buff or blue with black humeral (shoulder) stripes.
- Upper side of the abdomen is bronzy-black. s 8 - 9 have a typical blue pattern. S8 has a half moon to a crown shaped pattern extending halfway from the posterior end of the segments to the middle of the segments. S 9 have a light blue Mexican hat-shaped pattern. S10 is blue above.
Compared with other species:
- Face of the P. draconisis (Mountain Sprite) is mostly black with black labrum, while face of P. salisburyense greyish green or blue is with green labrum.
- P. kersteni (Powder-faced Sprite) has a white pruinescent forehead, but the forehead of the P. salisburyense has no pruinosity.
- P. salisburyense does not have the yellow face of P. citricola (Yellow-faced Sprite).
- P. furcigerum (Palmiet Sprite) and the P. kersteni have striped thorax that are pale pruinescent but the thorax of the of P. salisburyense has no stripes on the side of the thorax.
- In mature P. spernatum the abdomen is all the same colour, without the blue tip of P. salisburyense.
- P. salisburyense has blue postocular spots and blue-green face like the P. draconisis (Mountain Sprite) and the P. spernatum (Upland Sprite).
Distribution and habitat:
- Widespread throughout much of SA, but scarce in Western Cape. It is the most abundant sprite in South Africa.
- Frequents of sedge, grasses and reeds of- streams, small rivers, natural pools and ponds.
- Perch inactive on reed blades or grass stems overhanging the water.