Yellow-veined Widow. Geelaarweetjie
Palpopleura jucunda Rambur, 1842
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Yellow-veined Widow, Palpopleura jucunda, Genus Palpopleura, Family Libellulidae very small sized, brown and powdery pale blue, with striking yellow veins and dark brown and yellow splashes on the wings.
Key identification features:
- One of the smallest dragonflies in southern Africa.
- Face yellowish with frons brilliant shiny metallic blue on top.
- Thorax dark brown above, yellowish green between wing bases, sides yellowish with black lines along sutures.
- Bases of forewing and hindwing have complex dark brown patches, highlighted with bright yellow veins. Forewing with deep brown dot around nodus. Wings with light yellowish amber patches around dark areas and outer region of hindwing. Pterostigmas dark brown with cream on inside becoming dark brown with age, 2.2–2.3 mm long in forewing, 2.8–2.9 mm long in hindwing. Light grey underneath
- Broad flattish abdomen. Segments 1, 2 and first half of segment 3 yellow and black above, rest of segment 3 and segments 4 to 8 pruinescent light greyish blue. Segments 9 and 10 black Yellow below.
- Yellowish brown.
- Thorax reddish to dark brown above.
- Abdomen with elongated dark brown spots which form a line on sides.
- Wings similar, also blotched in brown. Bases of all four wings with divided dark brown splashes and irregular oval dark brown patches just beyond nodus, all patches surrounded by amber. Pterostigmas cream on inside, dark brown on the outside.
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-coloured: 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:
- Very common across most of South Africa.
- Swampy/marchy habitats, well-vegetated perennial streams. Marshy parts of rivers in much of SA.
- Perches and hunts from the tips of high grass stems or brush, often returning to the same perch. Females and young males often found some distance away from water. Males and females often seen together
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