Southern Riverking    Krasse Bottelstert.

Zygonoides fuelleborni (Grünberg, 1902)
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Short description:

Southern Riverking, Zygonoides fuelleborni, Genus Zygonoides,  Family Libellulidae, fairly large to large sized, mostly blackish with a few dull yellow spots.

Key identification features:


  • Face yellow, black and grey. Labrum pale yellow with fine blackish margin and two central greyish dots. Anteclypeus and postclypeus light grey. Frons grey in front and top corners, with two blackish, slightly metallic, C-shaped markings touching in midline from above. Top of head dark brown with grey pimple-like peaks.
  • Eyes bluish rather than green in life. Thorax very large,dark brown with slight metallic green sheen and some patchy indistinct dull yellow stripes. Wings slightly smoky, front and underside of costal veins pale yellowish.
  • Hindwing base dark brown
  • Pterostigmas black and long, 4.1–4.5 mm).
  • Abdomen is noticeably swollen at base, narrowing down greatly on segments 3 and 4, (ratio widest: narrowest, 2.5:13:1) overall shiny black with dull yellow side spots and fine yellow line running along top of its length. Pale central band on s 7 widest laterally. S 3 dark with pale spots, with white pruinescent ring with maturity, widest at sides and conspicuous in the field.


  • Female stouter, abdomen less constricted
  • Pterostigmas are long, 5 mm
  • Yellowish spots on abdomen more extensive to form rings.
Compared with other species:
  • Its black and yellow colouring readily distinguishes it from Zygonyx natalensis
  • Very similar to Z. torridus but settles far more frequently. It also has a horizontal, rather than vertical position at rest.
  • O. fuelleborni eyes are bluish (rather than green in life) Z. torridus eyes are blackish
  • It is stouter than Z. torridus with shorter wings. In side view, the swollen, then contracted, abdomen (ratio widest: narrowest, 2.5:13:1) contrasts with Z. torridus (4:1.5)
  • Z. fuelleborni also has white, pruinescent ring in first third of abdomen.
  • Female of O. fuelleborni has longer (5 mm) pterostigmas than Z. torridus (4 mm),and frons above does not have central black mark.
Distribution and habitat
  • Northern KZN, MP, LP with recent record from north eastern GP
  • Mostly rivers, but also streams and large lakes, in open landscapes or shaded by gallery forest. Especially faster sections (rapids, falls), often with rocks. From 0 to 1500 m above sea level, but mostly below 1100, although possibly up to 2100.
  • It occurs along broad, shallow, rocky, swift and hot savanna rivers with bushy or open banks. It patrols swift rivers, regularly settling on bushes, sticks or on rocks in the water. Hunting swarms wheel around high up between trees at dusk.
Further reading and other information:
Distribution Map
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.218
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 202
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa … P 190

Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 187
Warwick Tarboton
Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 669250
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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