Syncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba Female Kogelberg Western Cape 28 11 2015 Syncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba Female Kogelberg Western Cape 19 10 2016 Syncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba

Yellow Presba    Geelswalker.   Flag of South Africa.svg

Syncordulia gracilis (Burmeister, 1839)
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Syncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba Female Kogelberg Western Cape 28 11 2015 108 558 Dragonfly Syncordulia gracilis Male DSC03360 19re 108 537 Dragonfly Syncordulia gracilis Female DSC03389 19re
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Short Description:

Syncordulia gracilis, Yellow Presba, Genus Syncordulia, Family Libelluloidea incertae is medium-sized to fairly large, slender, dark brown, light brown, black and yellow.

Key identification features:


  • Face is yellow to sunflower yellow with the vertex rounded and shiny black.
  • Eyes are dark to light grey.
  • Thorax is dark brown with two narrow yellow to bright yellow stripes that is bordered by black lines.  A thin yellow dorsal line on thorax and between wing bases. Wings are smoky becoming clear in older individuals but may have a smoky patch at the base of the wing.
  • Abdomen is slender when viewed from above with a broken dark brown to light brown line along its length. Appendages are long and black.


  • Similar to males but with much stouter abdomen in side view and more extensive amber in wings.
Compared with other species:
  • S. venator (Mahogany Presba) is very a distinctive reddish brown, yellow-spotted species, which is much redder overall than Syncordulia gracilis (Yellow Presba) and S. legator (Gilded Presba)both of which are essentially yellowish.
  • S. venator does not have the distinctive yellow stripes on side of thorax as does S. gracilis.
  • S. venator is similar to S. serendipator (Rustic Presba), both in overall colour and size.
  • S. venator abdominal spots are 'hoof' shaped and pale yellow when viewed from above, whereas they are more solid and orangish in S. serendipator.
  • S. venator also has a fine, widening line along the mid-line of the thorax, barely present in S. serendipator.
    Full credit for this comparison to Michael J Samways.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Endemic to the mountainous areas of the south western part of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
  • Very rare and localised.This species is rare everywhere in its range, and for a long time it has not been seen at many sites where it historically was present (e.g., Michell's Pass). With the removal of invasive alien trees, it has recovered at some localities (e.g., Franschhoek Pass), however it is still Vulnerable. It is known only from a few sites (around six locations). but this ma change as more data is gathered.
  • Frequents swift shallow montane rivers flowing over a bed of flat rocks in open valleys, with fynbos and grassy banks.
  • Frequents swift shallow montane rivers flowing over a bed of flat rocks in open valleys, with fynbos and grassy banks in mostly open landscapes, but also open areas in forest. Probably especially calmer sections (like pools) with submerged roots and probably coarse detritus. Occurs from 0 to 900 m above sea level, but possibly higher up.
  • It is rarely over water, normally flying in fynbos or over low bushy vegetation, often several hundred metres from the water.
  • Rests close to the ground in thick vegetation, sometimes on the underside of branches where it is highly camouflaged.
Link to Further reading:

Further reading and other information: Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa. p..140
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 130
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ...p. 137
Warwick Tarboton
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 666270

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Vulnerable
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies

Morphology of a Dragonfly, Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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