Phantom Flutterer. Fladdergesie
Rhyothemis semihyalina (Desjardins, 1832)
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Key identification features:
- Face is brown in front, and dark metallic colour above, with the labrum blackish brown, anteclypeus and postclypeus dark brown. Frons is bright metallic dimpled bluish purple, lower margin dull yellow.
- Eyes are dark brown
- Thorax slightly metallic greenish black, interspersed with some faint yellow brown patches.White hair on dorsal and lower sides.
- Wings are short and wide, especially the hindwings and slightly smoky. The hindwing has uniformly dark brown/green metallic antenodal area and a clear postnodal half. The frontwing at most with dark smear near base. The metallic splash in the hindwing is diagnostic. Pterostigmas dark reddish brown and short, 2 mm.
- Abdomen slender, short and black and may pruinose from the lower side upwards . Segment 1-3 brown below S 10 Brown above
- Slightly stouter.
- Thorax not as deep metallic green /purple as the older male. Dorsal thorax with deep blues/metallic green squares either side of the dorsal carina not extending to the hind margin.
- Hind margin of basal wing patch more square than male.
- Abdomen segment 1 dark brown becoming progressive dark blue/brown to dark deep blue grey at S 10. Pronounced from s 6 to s 10. Pruinose on lower and upper brown parts with age
Similarities with other species:
- Unmistakable with the very large splashes on the hindwings. Butterfly like flight is diagnostic.
Distribution and habitat:
- Widespread and common in the eastern coastal regions and the warm northern parts of South Africa. Records are now showing that it is also in the Eastern Cape area.
- Frequents standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes. Usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation, and a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.
- Distinct butterfly like fluttering flight, Rest at the tip of a conspicuous perch, with legs thrust forward and wings raised. Often in territorial fights. Sometimes found flying in tree tops.