100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 101 528 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Female Snt Lucia KZN RSA December 2012 107 537 Keyhole Glider 1

Keyhole Glider.      Loerswerwe.

Also known as Red Marsh Trotter, Wheeling Glider

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Short description:

Tramea basilaris, Keyhole Glider. Genus Tramea, Family Libellulidae, fairly large sized with a tapered abdomen, orange red and brown, with black abdominal tip. Hind wings have jiggered, dark red, basil patches with amber halo.

Key identification features:


  • Face is reddish to dark brown
  • Eyes are dark red above and greyish with dark mottles below
  • Thorax is brown above with brownish patches on brownish grey
  • Wings are elongated, with large jiggered, dark red, basil patches with amber halo on the hindwing
  • Pterostigmas are yellowish brown with the ones on the forewing longer than those on the hindwing
  • Segment 1 dark brown, s 2 to 7 light red. S 8 with triangular black patch above, s 9 - 10 black above. Segments 8 - 10 with fine cream lines along hind margins
  • Superior appendages long, dark brown with slight base with slight outward curve


  • Similar in body patterning but yellowish brown instead of reddish
  • Wing patches similar but brown rather than dark red and not quite as extensive
  • Long dark brown claspers, that points slightly outwards in the male
  • Superior appendages long, dark brown with light base with slight outward curve
Compared with other species:
  • Ferruginous Glider, T. limbata, has elongated dark shaped markings in the hindwing
  • In flight, the patterns on the hindwings are diagnostic on both species
Distribution and habitat
  • Flies in warm, humid areas. Found in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga KZN. Some present in the Western Cape
  • Breedsin standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes, but sometimes shaded by gallery forest. Often with coarse detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom
  • From 0 to 1800 m above sea level
  • Males fly between bushes and trees continuously for long periods. They range from close to water to quite a distance away from the breeding water
Further reading and other information:
Distribution Map
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.200
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 208
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa … P 197

Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 200

Odonata Atlas of AfricaOdonata Atlas of Africa Number 668620
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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