100 742 Palpopleura lucia Lucia Widow Marloth Park Sept 2016r 3 100 707 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Female Numu July 2015r 1 100 701 Palpopeura lucia Lucia Widow Kasane Apr 2014 r 1

Lucia Widow.      Lucia-weetjie    

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Short description:

Lucia WidowPalpopleura lucia, Genus Palpopleura, Family Libellulidae, very small to small sized, with powdery blue body and extensive black patches on wings.

Key identification features:

Male: 100 742 Palpopleura lucia Lucia Widow Marloth Park Sept 2016r 3

  • 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. 100 705 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Numu July 2015r 7
  • Undulating hind margins on hind wings that do not reach the hind margin. 100 705 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Numu July 2015r 7
  • Pterostigmas are white with a black outer edge that continues around the wing tip in a sickle shape (or like a cats nail).100 705 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Numu July 2015r 7

Female: 100 707 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Female Numu July 2015r 1

  • Has deeply notched broad black outer wing markings.100 1947 Palpopleura lucia Lucia Widow Female Close up1 Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 8
  • Amber coloured patches in both wings may extend to the hind margins of the wing. 100 1947 Palpopleura lucia Lucia Widow Female Close up1 Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 8
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.
  • Black patches in both wings of the female P. lucia is more extensive than the patches of P. Portia.
  • 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 patches. P deceptor has long black streaks in forewing only with an isolated dark marking around node.
  • Pterostigmas of P. lucia and P portia are bicolored: 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.
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.
Behaviour:
  • Hangs with wings folded forwards and perches on stems and in full sunshine.
Further reading:
  Books
A guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa    p. 194
Dragonfly Biotic Index p. 158
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa    p. 163
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa    p. 190
Websites of interest
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
Odonata Atlas of Africa. VMU Number 668200
Africa Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies
Morphology of a Dragonfly

Map of South Africa
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