Halfshade Dropwing. Skaduvalvlerkie
Trithemis aconita, (Lieftinck, 1969)
Previously known as Monkshood Dropwing
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- Guide to Dropwings - General (Trithemis)
- Guide to Dropwings - Blue
- Guide to Dropwings - Red/Orange/Brown
Key identification features:
- Face contrasting dull yellow, black and brown. Labium light yellow with central dark brown stripe. Labrum black. Anteclypeus dull yellow with dark brown stripe running across it. Postclypeus and front of frons dull yellow. Top of frons and top of head dimpled, shiny, metallic purplish black. Short stripe runs down side of frons against eyes.
- Eyes dark bluish black.
- Thorax is pruinescent dark blue with dark banding and mottling showing through.
- Wings slightly smoky with a small split dark brown splash at base of hindwing. (small brown patch, normally excluding triangle but extending onto anal field). Pterostigmas orange brown between dark brown veins, 3 mm long. Ax veins in forewing 9½-12½ rarely up to 14½
- 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 black 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 (Silhouette 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.