100 635 Trithemis aconita Halfshade dropwing Male Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2015r 3 100 1383 Trithemis aconita Halfshade dropwing Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Sept 2017r 1 102 543 2016 12 24 Sabiepark Halfshade wyfie 13

Halfshade Dropwing  Skaduvalvlerkie

Previously known as Monkshood Dropwing

Links to articles and Images
Short description:

Halfshade Dropwing, Trithemis aconita, Genus Trithemis, Family Libellulidae, small sized, slender and dark blueish black, with yellowish brown dashes on the abdomen.

Key identification features:


  • Face dull yellow, black and brown.
  • Thorax is pruinescent dark blue with dark banding and mottling showing through.
  • Pterostigmas orange brown between dark brown veins, 3 mm long.
  • Abdomen slender brownish black with yellowish dashes on top of the abdomen. Segments 1 to 3 with indistinct yellow dashes. Segments 4 to 8 with pairs of narrow yellow dashes on each  segment. Segments 9 and 10 black.


  • Similar to male, stouter, less pruinescence on thorax so brown mottling and streaking more clearly visible.
  • Abdomen blaqck with yellow dashes.
  • Hindwing has small, basal, amber patch
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to T. stricta (Jaunty Dropwing), but much darker.
  • T. aconite prefers forest streams and rivers less in the open than
  • T. Hecate(Silhoette Dropwing, prefers standing water in marches and floodplains
Distribution and habitat:
  • Localised to Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Kwazulu-Natal and further north into East and West Africa.
  • Prefers standing waters, rivers and streams shaded by gallery forest, but also in open areas in forest. Especially pools in stream beds, usually with coarse detritus, often a soft (like muddy) bottom and/or probably emergent vegetation.
  • From altitude 0 to 1700 m above sea level, but mostly below 1300.


  • Alert as it perches on twigs under tree (often high up) canopy over water.
  • Easily overlooked.
Further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=%20668740 Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 196
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa
 .. p. 177
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 174
Distribution Map
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa
 ... p. 202
Dragonflies of Namibia ... p. 236
On the Web"
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 668740                                
The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species   (Least Concern)          
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies
Morphology of a Dragonfly Sketch 1 and Sketch 2 and Damselfly
Map of South Africa

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