Red Groundling. Rooigrondwagtertjie
Brachythemis lacustris (Kirby, 1889)
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Red Groundling, Brachythemis lacustris, Genus Brachythemis, Family Libellulidae, small sized, stocky, bright red, with a dark brownish red face and eyes and with large orange splashes on wings and broad red abdomen.
Key identification features:
- Face and vertex is darkish red
- Dark red eyes above becoming pinkish grey below. Brown bands visible on upper eyes ((diagnostic in Groundlings (Genus Brachythemis))
- Thorax is bright red to pinkish red
- Wings are all with large, bright orange to dark amber splashes, almost reaching nodus on frontwing but reach the nodus on Hindwing. No cell-doublings in radial planate (Rspl loop) of all wings although rarely 1 or 2. Hindwing is small but broad (22 – 25mm). Pterostigmas relatively short, yellowish brown on inside, dark reddish brown on outside, 2.1–2.2 mm long
- Abdomen is broad swollen at base that hardly tapers. S1-4 is all bright red; with no dark or black markings. S5-10 has a light black line broadening slightly towards S10. This line may dull with age.
- All yellowish and light brown with few distinctive markings
- Stouter body,
- wings clear, no orange markings.
- Pterostigmas yellow with brown on outside
Compared with other species:
- Small in size compared with the Orange-winged Dropwing, Trithemis Kirbyi.
- Amber patches reach the nodus but on T. Kirbyi it only reaches about halfway to the nodus.
- T Kirbyi has a slender abdomen.
- T. Kirbyi more orange than the deeper red of B. lacustris.
- Both species prefers to perch on rocks but B. lacustris is highly gregarious and many individuals may be found perched alongside each other
- T. Kirbyi has red veins in the area of the nodus compared to the black veins if B. Lacustris.
- Orange in wings of B. lacustris continues intense but it is less intense and not always continuous in T Kirbyi.
- Female simmilar to female Southern Banded Groundling (B. leucosticta) Lateral stripe on abdomen dark brown compared with lightish brown on Red Groundling
Distribution and habitat:
- Mpumalanga, Limpopo and possibly in the northern areas of North West Province New records indicate presence in the western interior of Mpumalanga on the central Gauteng border.
- Prefers meandering, partially tree-lined, streams and rivers with rocks and fringed with tall grass. Found from 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1100.
- Males and females cohabitate
- Male may perch in large numbers near the water (sometimes in the shade)