Yellow-faced Sprite   Jaloerse gesie

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Short Description:

Yellow-faced SpritePseudagrion citricolaGenus Pseudagrion (A–group), Family Coenagrionidae,  small sized with a bright yellow face and bright blue postocular spots.

Key identification features:


  • Face is bright yellow  with yellow labrum and clypeus and yellow genae (side of the head) and a black frons.
  • Head above is black, with small, bright blue postocular spots with no line between them.
  • Eyes are above brown with a darker ring and amber yellow below.
  • Thorax is dark blue above and light greenish blue below - becoming pruinescent with age.
  • Wings are clear with light brown pterostigmas that becomes dark brown with age.
  • Abdomen is above dark blue and buff-greenish below. Between segments are dark rings. S8-9 has bright mauvish blue patches above and are buff below. S10 is black above.


  • Buff to greenish face and the eyes are light green below
  • Postocular spots are buff and joined by light brownish bar.
  • Thorax can be buff with black humeral (shoulder) stripes.
  • Abdomen upper side is metallic greenish-black and light greenish buff below. S8 S9 has a typical white pattern. S8 has a rabbit-face pattern and S9 has a whitish crown-shape pattern extending halfway from the posterior end of the segments to the middle of the segments. S10 is whitish above.
Compared with other species:
  • Dffers from the other two South African sprites with yellow faces. 
  • Great Sprite (Pseudagrion gamblesi) is much larger, has a striped thorax, and is restricted to faster-flowing rivers at lower altitudes in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
  • Springwater Sprite (Pseudagrion caffrum) also has the yellow face and dark blue body but does not have blue postocular spots, and it has brighter rusty red pterostigmas and dull blue abdominal tip.
  • P. citricola may be confused for Powder-faced Sprite (P. salisburyense) except that P. citricola has the distinctive yellow face.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Endemic to South Africa. Common across the Highveld grassland region.
  • Frequents of sedge, grasses and reeds of streams and small rivers.
  • Perches on grass stems or rushes. It moves swiftly across the water when disturbed.
Further reading: Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 66
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa.   p. 77
Biotic Boitic index   p. 69
Websites of interest

Warwick Tarboton
African Dragonflies & Damsekflies online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 663260
The IUCN red List of Threatened Species. Least Concern
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies    Damselflies
Morphology of Dragonfly and Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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