Black Percher Swartsitterrjie
Diplacodes lefebvrii (Rambur, 1842)
|Images||Mature male||Young Male||Mature female||Female||Old Female|
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Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii, Genus Diplacodes, Family Libellulidae, very small to small sized, and all black when mature When immature a yellowish side stripe on the side of the abdomen may be visible..
Key identification features:
- Length 27 - 30 - 32mm: wingspan 46 - 49 - 54mm; Abdomen 14-18mm, Hind wing: 18-23mm.
Note: These measurements are important to differentiate between the Black Percher and the Dwarf Pecher D. pumila.
- Frons and top of head dimpled shiny black with slight purple metallic sheen.
- Eyes are a deep purplish black.
- Thorax totally black when mature. May have yellowish green marks before changing to dark Black/brown. Yellow with dark markings similar to female when young
- Wings clear with small amber patch at base of hindwing.
- Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown with dark brown, black front margin and thick black veins, 3.1–3.4 mm long.
- Abdomen has white/yellow marks on lateral side, peters out on segment 8 all black.These marks disappear with age becoming dark grey/black. Superior appendages white but darkening with age becoming a brownish colour not black. Dark tips
- Yellowish green becoming yellowish brown with age
- Thin blackish irregular stripes on lateral thorax. Three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina on dorsal thorax.
- Hindwing has a basal amber patch, larger than in the male. Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown between thick dark veins.
- Abdomen has a blackish stripe above and on sides. Yellowish side stripe/markings stops at segment 8. NOTE:s 9 black. Black on s 10 in lateral view
- Adult females are similar to males, but with some pale markings on the face. Sub adults are coloured with yellow and black markings on thorax and abdomen.
- The wings of females are more pale coloured and the black area of hind wings in males is replaced by rich amber yellow.
Compared with other species:
- Male is similar to the Dwarf Percher, D. pumila.
- D. pumila has dark claspers. D. lefebvrii has white (young) to dark light brown claspers, very seldom black
- D. pumila has white/yellow spot on s 9. D. lefebvrii s 9 all black.
- Female D. pumila has uniform brown patched on dorsal thorax either side of dorsal carina. D. lefebvrii has three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina
Distribution and habitat:
- Found at virtually every open marsh in the African continent.
- Found in standing and probably often temporary waters. Possibly also large lakes, in open landscapes, usually with with an abundance of tall grasses, mats of floating algae, other swamp vegetation and emergent vegetation.
- From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1600.
- It rarely flies more than a metre or two, taking-off rapidly and fly low over the water (restless). Usually perches less than half a metre from the water surface and usually on a grass stem or away from water on the ground. Young and immature males may be found well away from water
- Females lay her eggs with rapid dipping movements on floating algae