100 955 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male KZN RSA Mch 2017r 24 100 950 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Mating Pair Groblersdal MP RSA Febr 2018r 4 100 945 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Ndumu Mch 2017r 3


R
ed Basker.     Rooisonvangertjie.

Short description:

Urothemis assignata, Red Basker, Genus Urothemis , Family Libellulidae, medium sized, stout, with a bright red thorax and abdomen. It has black markings on the abdomen and large dark red splashes on the hindwing.

Key identification features:

Male: 100 670 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Kozibay KZN RSA MCH 2018r 2

  • Face, including top of frons and top of head, deep red.Eyes are deep red above and light grey and blackish mottled below.  100 959 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Close Up KZN RSA Mch 2017r 6
  • Thorax deep red with small darker patches. 100 958 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Close Up KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2
  • Hindwings have dark red, angular, basal flares, with fine, amber halo. Narrow band in the front section of the wing with a clear line between the band and the flare.Forewing has minute traces of basal amber and no patches. Pterostigmas yellow brown with fine black anterior border, 4 mm. 100 964 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Close Up KZN RSA Mch 2017r 14
  • Black ladder-like stripe on top of stout abdomen.  This pattern visibly diminish with age. Broadening from segment 5 to the widest on s 9. Appendages of moderate length, red  100 963 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Close Up KZN RSA Mch 2017r 13

Female: 100 946 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Ndumu Mch 2017r 7

  • Stout build like male. 100 2481 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 1
  • Thorax greyish brown.100 2483 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 5
  • Abdomen light reddish brown100 2488 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 20
  • Wing patches similar to male but not as extensive 100 2491 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 26
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to the Blue Basker, U. edwardsii, but different in colour. 100 666 Urothemis edwardsii Blue Basker Marlothpark April 2015 r 5
  • Can be mistaken for the Gliders (Keyhole and Ferruginous), Tramea basilaris 100 1669 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 12 and Tramea limbata.100 1142 Trame limbata Ferruginous Glider Hluhluwe KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2 The Red Basker has bigger patches than the Ferruginous Glider and the Keyhole Glider has keyhole shaped patches.
  • There are several red coloured species that needs close inspection to identify correctly.
    • Aethriamanta rezia, Pygmy Basker: 118 500 1Aethriamanta rezia Enseleni 2 1  Very amall. Eyes brown with red cap on top, mottled grey below. Thorax with black shoulder stripe. Legs black. Wings all with small dark brown flares at the base, hindwings with additional small patch just behind flares, flares are surrounded by amber halo. 6 Ax veins. Pterostigmas reddish brown 2mm. Abdomen wide, bright red with regular black ladder running along entire top. Segment 1 blackish. Superior appendages red.
    • Urothemis assignata, Red Basker:  100 670 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Kozibay KZN RSA MCH 2018r 2 Stout, bright red. Eyes deep red above, mottleld dark and light grey below. Leggs light red. Hindwings have large dark red angular basal patches with amber hallow. Forewing has small traces of amber at the base. Wing veins red. Pterostigma yellow brown 4mm. Last Ax vein complete. Abdomen segments 5 -9 have black above with median ladder-like stripe of uneven width, widest on s 8 - 9. Appendages of moderate length, red.
    • Macrodiplax cora. Coastal Pennant: 118 503 Macrodiplax cora Coastal Penant Male Kosi Bay KZN Apr 2016r 1  Wings clear, except for small amber patch at base of hindwings. Abdomen bright red with along top strongly contrasting black hour glass shaped stripe of varying width, broken at each segmental joint.
    • Tramea basilaris, Keyhole Glider, 100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 Hindwing patches distinctive keyhole shaped. Thorax dull orange above dark brownish grey with dark brown areas along the side. Abdomen segment 8 triangular shaped mark, S 9 -10 black above. Superior appendages long, dark brown with light base.
    • Tramea limbata, Ferrugginous Glider,  100 1142 Trame limbata Ferruginous Glider Hluhluwe KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2 Hindwing patches distinctive elongated, narriow shaped dark panels close to basel adge of the wing that may appear black in flight.  long brown claspers
    • Tholymis tillarga, Twister. 100 626 Tholymis tillarga Twister Male Tshipise LP RSA MCH 2016r 4  Hindwings with dark brown patch just inside nodus in front half, with white patch outside of it and diffuse amber area inside it. Forewings with diffuse amber area at bases of wings. Abdomen tapered, light red. Appendages long, red, black at tips.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Widespread and common in the eastern coastal regions and the warm northern parts of South Africa.
  • Frequents Standing waters, but possibly also lakes, rivers and flowing channels in marshes, in open landscapes, open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest.
  • Usually with emergent vegetation and often coarse detritus and a soft muddy bottom.
  • From 0 to 1700 m above sea level, but mostly at lower elevations.
Behaviour:
  • Strong flight but soon returns to often the same perch.
  • Perches on reed tips at water’s edge.
Further reading and information:
Books:
T
he Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa   p. 216
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa     p. 210
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 199
Dragonfly Biotic index   p. 196

Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 665740
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Least Concern.
Warwick Tarboton
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa

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