Jaunty Dropwing Vrolike Valvlerkie
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Jaunty Dropwing, Trithemis stictica, Genus Trithemis, Genus Trithemis, Family Libellulidae, is small with a characteristic uniform powdery blue thorax and a black with yellow abdomen with yellow lengthwise dashes either side of a central dorsal black line.
Key identification features:
- Eyes are uniformly bluish, with a few black mottles. Vertex and dorsum of frons metallic blue. Back of head is bright black and yellow.
- Thorax pruinose pale blue.
- Wings are slightly smoky with hind wing base clear rather than often amber, with faint central orange brown circular patch present (Both sexes). 10-12½ Ax in front wing. Costal, Sub Costal and R1 veins outside of nodus a creamy pink colour.
- Pterostigmas are dark brown between black margins,
- Abdomen slender, black with bright yellow dashes along most of its length. Segments 9 and 10 and appendagesall black.
- Young males are similar to females.Young Western Cape individuals has brown leadingedges on all wings
- Very dark from above, blackish and yellow.
- Thorax side yellow, with a dark brown longitudinal central zig-zag stripe. Distinct yellow stripe present between wings.
- Abdomen is much ticker than that of the male. Yellow markings of abdomen is mainly only along the side.
- No central circular faint splash on hindwing. Young Western Cape individuals has brown leadingedges on all wings
Compared with other species:
- T. stictica is the only species in SA with a pale blue thorax, and black and yellow abdomen, and blue, metallic frons.
Distribution and habitat:
- Occurs throughout much of South Africa from sea level to 2 000 m elevation, but absent (not yet recorded) from the dry Northern Cape and North Western Provinces.
- Prefers mostly streams, but also rivers and standing waters, in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often a sandy, soft (like muddy) and/or probably gravelly bottom, probably especially calmer sections (like pools) with coarse detritus.
- From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1900.
- Alert as it perches conspicuously on a stick on reed at a pool or river margin, often darting out to defend its territory.
- Frequently seen on hot days with its abdomen in the upright obelisk position and its wings forward.