101 091 Pseudagrion hamoni Race Swarthy Sprite Male Tshipise LP RSA October 2015 100 1630 Pseudagrion harmoni Swarthy Sprite Marloth Park Sept 2016r 5 100 1632 Swarthy Male Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017r 1

Swarthy Sprite    Donkergesie. 

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Short Description:

Pseudagrion hamoni, Swarthy Sprite, Genus Pseudagrion (B–group), Family Coenagrionidae, small to medium sized, mostly dull maroon and blackish. The colour varies according to age. When young, it has green thorax with stripes that blackens with age. Large green postocular spots that disappear with age. Top front and bottom half of eye are red. Pale tibia. S8 and S9 are blue, indented with black on the outer edge of each segment.

Key identification features:

Male ♂

  • Face black and dark brownish red coloured, with maroon labrum, clypeus and genae (side of the head) and a black frons
  • Head above is black, with large green postocular spots that disappear with age. Postocular spots may be linked with a green bar
  • Top front and bottom half of eye is deep red with a blackish brown horizontal ring in the middle
  • When young it has green thorax with broad black dorsal and humeral stripes. Thorax of the older male is black with bronze sheen above with maroon to dark brown stripes. Lower part of the sides of the thorax is blue with light pruinescence becoming very heavy with age
  • Wings are clear, with reddish brown pterostigmas. Pterostigmas become dark brown with age. Blue spots are between wings bases, becoming pruinescent with age.
  • Upper part of the abdomen is black with greenish bronze sheen. Below it is light green with black spots at the far end of each segment. Light green rings between the each of the segments 3 to 7. Segment 1-2 is above heavy pruinescence. S7 is all black. S8-9 bright blue separated at joint between S8 and S9 by a fine, black, scallop edged ring. S9 has a terminal black scalloped saddle stretching into the back half of the segment. (Sometimes S8 has also a terminal black scalloped saddle). In old individuals S8-9 become light grey with heavy pruinescence


  • Buff to greenish face and the eyes are light green below
  • Postocular spots are greenish
  • Thorax is buff with narrow black humeral(shoulder) stripe and greenish sides. Lower part of the thorax is blue
  • Upper side of the abdomen is metallic greenish-black and light greenish buff below
Compared with other species:
  • Top front and bottom half of eye of the Pseudagrion harmoni is red
  • Eye of the Black Sprite (Pseudagrion commoniae) is black on top and the bottom part is red
  • Tibia of P. harmoni is pale whereas the tibia of P. commoniae is black.
  • P. harmoni has a striped thorax and P. commoniae has a plain black thorax.
  • P, commoniae has no postocular spots and the postocular spots of the Pseudagrion harmoni are green.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Northeastern parts of South Africa extending southwards to northeast KZN. Common Savanna species.
  • Frequents of still water habitats with floating vegetation.
  • Perches on grass stems hanging over water and on the floating vegetation and lilies in the water.
Further reading and other Information:|
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=663780 Books:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.182
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa p. 76
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 84
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 76

Warwick Tarboton
Odonata Atlas of AfricaOdonata Atlas of Africa Number 663780
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram
Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly,  Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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