101 009 Azuragrion nigridorsum Sailing Bluet Tshipise August 2015 1 1

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Sailing Bluet.    Swartstertbloutjie.

(Selys, 1876)

Short Description:

Sailing Bluet, Azuragrion nigridorsum, is a small, bright blue and black Damselfly, with a distinctive black pattern on the end of the abdomen (S8).

Key identification features:

Bright blue face and blue labrum. Head above black. Eyes are bright blue above, greenish blue below and with small black cap on top. The postocular spots are narrow and linked with a characteristic blue line at the back of the head. The middorsal stripes of the synthorax are black with bright blue antihumeral stripes and unusual broad black humeral stripes on either sides. Sides of the synthorax are light blue. The wings are clear and the pterostigmas are pale brown with indistinct, fine border. Abdomen is bright blue with a continuous abdominal black stripe on S3-5. An hourglass pattern on S2. Diagnostic pattern on S8 and S9: S8 with black patch above with blue sides and S9 is all blue with fine, anterior, black crescent and S10 is black above with blue sides. Female is light yellowish brown with broad black humeral stripes and black abdomen with fine yellowish rings.

Compared with other species:

Similar to the paler Africallagma glaucum. The S8 of the A. glaucum is all blue and the S8 of the Az. nigridorsum has a black patch. S10 of the A. nigridorsum has a big black dorsal patch and only a thin black dorsal stripe on S10 of the A. glaucum. The black dorsal stripe on S 3 -5 of the abdomen of the Az. nigridorsum is continuous, but it is broken in Africallagma sapphirinum. A. nigridorsum has brown pterostigmas and normal wingtips and the Pseudagrion rotundipennis has round blue and black pterostigmas and round wingtips.

Distribution and habitat:

Savannas of Southern and Eastern Cape coast, and coastal, central and northern parts of KZNP to the northern parts of South Africa.
Preferred habitat is still water, such as small ponds, dams and slow-flowing streams and rivers.


Perch on the water surface and floating aquatic plants and debris. Sometimes drifting with the wind if they are sailing

Further reading:

A guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa     
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 662630
More about our further reading
More about Dragonfly Anatomy
Map of South Africa

p. 92
p. 106



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