Darting Cruiser. Pyltjieswalker.
Phyllomacromia picta (Hagen in Selys, 1871)
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Key identification features:
- Face yellowish brown. Labrum reddish brown. Postclypeus mottled greenish brown with yellow margins. Frons dark shiny brown and spotted yellow on side margin and on top. Head very dark brown and slightly metallic above.
- Eyes bright green, lighter greenish yellow below, with small black cap.
- Thorax with two metallic green/brown to black and three yellow stripes of equal width. Four yellow spots present between bases of wings. Dorsal thorax with broad bands divided by yellow carina
- Wings slightly to moderately smoky. Pterostigmas reddish brown, 2.3–2.5 mm long.
- Abdomen slender with distinct club from segments 7 to 9. Segment 2- 6 alternately black and yellow. Dorsal view of s1 has brown band at the hind margin, s2 has hook-like pattern, s3 - 6 has arrow-like (almost manta-ray like shaped) angular markings in the yellow bands. First half of segment 7 has distinct yellow ring, second half of segment 7 and all of segments 8 to 10 black. Darting Cruiser (Phyllomacromia picta)es dark brown/black. Segment 10 with strong vertical spine above.
- Similar, distinctly stouter
- Face more brown than male
- Abdomen slender (less than male) with distinct club from segments 7 to 9. . S2- 6 alternately brown and yellow. Dorsal view of s1 has wine glass shaped pattern with broad base in a yellow ring, s2 has hook-like pattern, s3 - 6 has arrow-like (diamond shaped) angular markings in the yellow bands. First half of segment 7 has distinct yellow ring, second half of s7 and all of segments 8 to 10 black. Patterns on the dorsal abdomen may differ from specimen to specimen and with age Club less conspicuous with s 9 - 10 tapering sharply to the appendages
- Wings smokier with amber band between nodus and Pterostigmas. Amber at wing base
Compared with other species:
- With Anax tristi, Black Emperor of the largest black and yellow dragonflies in RSA.
- P. contumax Two-banded Cruiser, is easily recognised on the wing by the long, yellow saddle on S3 and more yellow at base of abdominal club. By S10 lacking the dorsal spine of P. picta and P. Monoceros. P. contumax have no (or occasionally very small) stripes on side of thorax
- P. picta (Darting Cruiser) have broader yellow abdominal bands
- P. Monoceros (Sable Cruiser) is only marginally smaller than P. contumax, Two-banded Cruiser
- P. Monoceros (Sable Cruiser) has almost no (if any very thin) abdominal bands
- P. picta (Darting Cruiser) is smaller than P. contumax, Two-banded Cruiser, and has a more erratic flight.
- P. Contumax, has a plain, dark brown thorax and no spine.
- P. picta (Darting Cruiser) has reddish brown pterostigmas
- P. picta (Darting Cruiser) much smaller than P. monoceros., Sable Cruiser.
- P. picta (Darting Cruiser) spine on S10 is smaller, more backward pointing and less conical than in P. monoceros., Sable Cruiser.
Distribution and Habitat:
- Scattered locations across South Africa except very dry central area and eastern Cape.
- Mostly rivers, but also large lakes and possibly streams, standing waters and flowing channels in marshes, in open landscapes, open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Recorded in desert areas.
- From 0 to 1900 m above sea level, but mostly between 500 and 1500.
- It flies fast, darting back and forth over grassland between trees and sometimes along rivers.
Further reading and other information: