119 509 Nomad male I5A9859 100 693 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Beaulieu Jan 2015r 1 117 527 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad

Nomad (Red-veined Darter)  Swerwertjie

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Images Male  Young Male  Female
100 693 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Beaulieu Jan 2015r 1 100 988 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male Moreletta GP RSA Oct 2016r 1 100 977 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male Close up RNR Apr 2017r 4 100 2643 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Female RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 3
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Short description:

Nomad (Red-veined Dater) Sympetrum fonscolombii, Genus Sympetrum, Familia: Libellulidae,  is medium sized, reddish orange, with a brownish head and thorax.

Key identification features:

Males:  100 693 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Beaulieu Jan 2015r 1

  • Bright red.100 983 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 1
  • Face, labrum, frons and the front of top of head reddish brown. The sides of postclypeus, frons and back of the head, is yellowish or greyish brown. 100 987 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 17
  • Eyes are reddish brown above and blue below. 100 987 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 17  100 984 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 4
  • Thorax reddish brown becoming greyer at sides with two indistinct but wide diagonal grey to creamy brown stripes, sometimes only one of these stripes visible. 100 984 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 4
  • Abdomen usually orange red with two black dashes both in centre and at sides of segments 8 and 9. The males become a deep red with maturity with red veins on the wings, particularly on the leading edges.100 2636 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 19
  • Wing bases of the hind-wings are yellow. Pterostigma are pale with a border of black veins and the underside of the eye is blue/grey. Immature males are coloured as the females but have only a single line along each side of the abdomen.
  • Legs of both sexes are mostly black with some yellow. 100 983 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 1   Immature males are like females but often with more red.

Females:  108 539 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Female Somerset West WCP RSA Aug 2016

  • Yellowish brown becoming greyish brown with age. 108 539 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Female Somerset West WCP RSA Aug 2016
  • Thorax Indistinct but wide pale greyish diagonal line running across side 100 2643 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Female RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 3 Brown humeral stripe
  • Abdomen with fine black line along side separates yellow brown above from the pale straw colour below.Usually mustard yellow with two black dashes both in centre and at sides of s 8 and 9.100 2647 Sympetrum fonscolombii Nomad Female RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 9
Compared with other species:
  • Not as deep of red as the common Scarlets ,(Broad- 100 1002 Crocothemis erythraea Broad Scarlet Male Close UP RNR GP RSA June 2018r 1 and Little-  100 1968 Crocothemis sanguinolenta Little Scarlet Male Close up Bobejaan Aug 2017r 5  (Crocothemis)) or red Dropwings (Trithemis species. Distinctly, overall, slightly more orange but darken to a darkish red with age. Best recognised by a combination of orangey-red abdomen with black marks at tip, brownish grey thorax with pale diagonal stripes (of which only one, running across middle of side of thorax may be visible and also dulling with age) and dull reddish brown face and eyes. The 'hairy collar' is easily seen in field.
  • Male S. fonscolombii can be mistaken for Crocothemis erythraea  100 591 Crocothemis erythraea Broad Scarlet Male Oos Rand Febr 2016 R 2 of 6  as both are very red dragonflies with yellow bases to the wings, red veins and pale pterostigma. However C. erythraea has no black on the legs, a broader body and no black on the headbut white on the rear margin of the eye. 100 1002 Crocothemis erythraea Broad Scarlet Male Close UP RNR GP RSA June 2018r 1
  • C. erythraea females do not oviposit in tandem.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Widespread throughout South Africa, even up to 2 700 m elevation. Its range extends to Europe, Madagascar and Asia and it is a wandering and migratory species.
  • Found in, and reproduces in, a wide range of habitats (permanent and transient shallow and sunny standing waters, man-made barrage lakes, tanks and ponds, permanent and seasonal rivers and streams). The eggs and larvae develop rapidly and S. fonscolombii unlike many other dragonflies has more than one generation a year.
  • One of the first Dragonflies on the wing in spring
Behaviour:
  • Main flight period is early October to May and it is scarce during the winter months.
  • Territorial species with the males often sitting on an exposed perch. After copulation the pair stays in tandem for egg laying and pairs can be seen over open water with the female dipping her abdomen into the water depositing eggs.
  • The eggs and larvae develop rapidly has more than one generation a year.
Further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=668420 Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa...
p. 188
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa...p. 176
Dragonfly Biotic Index...p. 173
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa...p. 156
Dragonflies of Namibia...p. 226

Websites:
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa 
Wikipedea
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 668420
The IUCN Red List od Threatened Species     Least concern
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online

Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa
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