Lucia Widow. Lucia-weetjie
Palpopleura lucia (Drury, 1773)
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Key identification features:
- Black patches on the forewings run from wing bases to the pterostigmas. These markings extend from the front of wing to the rear of wing.
- Undulating hind margins on hind wings that do not reach the hind margin.
- Pterostigmas are white with a black outer edge that continues around the wing tip in a sickle shape (or like a cats nail).
- Has deeply notched broad black outer wing markings.
- Amber coloured patches in both wings may extend to the hind margins of the wing.
Compared with other species:
- Females of P. lucia and P. portia are most like P. portia males, but is difficult to separate. Females must preferably be identified or photographed with males.
- P portia and P. lucia have dark patches on the wings. P. lucia P. portia
- Black patches in both wings of the female P. lucia is more extensive than the patches of P. Portia.
- P deceptor has long black streaks in forewing only with an isolated dark marking around node. .
- Pterostigmas of P. lucia and P portia are bi-colored: half white and half black with black on outer side. The outer black part of the pterostigmas of P. Lucia follows to the last Px vein (on the wing tip) giving the pterostigma a cat nail like appearance P. jucunda has dark brown pterostigmas. Pterostigmas of P deceptor are black with white/cream in inner half.
- P. lucia females have an amber patch in both wings that reaches the hind margins of the wings. These patches may also be prevalent in P. portia, but is lighter and do not reach the hind margins of the wings.
- Female P. jucunda has distinctive dark patches on outer part of both wings, but the male have amber patches in the area where the females have dark patch
Distribution and habitat:
- Common across the warm eastern and northern side of South Africa.
- Prefers pools, swamps, marshes and sluggish reaches of streams with lots of grasses and reeds.
- Hangs with wings folded forwards and perches on stems and in full sunshine.