100 2055 Orthetrum brachiale Banded Skimmer Male Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017r 8100 647 Orthetrum brachiale Banded Skimmer Kasane Apr 2014 r 6100 651 Orthetrum brachiale Banded Skimmer Female Kasane Apr 2014 r 1

Banded Skimmer. Gebande Skepper.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
Links to images and articles:

100 2055 Orthetrum brachiale Banded Skimmer Male Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017r 8Images101 551 Orthetrum brachiale Banded Skimmer Male Tshipise LP RSA Feb 2013Male

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Short description:

Medium sized with a dark grey thorax with slight yellowish markings on lower abdomen. Males best identified by inspection of secondary genitalia.

Key identification features:


  • Abdomen 30 -33mm, hindwing span 32 - 35mm, Pterostigna 4 - 4.5mm
  • Face mostly pale to dark grey above, brown below (diagnostic) Top of head dark brown, dimpled.
  • Eyes greenish blue with dark spots.
  • Thorax greyish brown with strong, dark brown stripes on shoulders and sides, overall becoming darker brown and then pruinescent light blue with age, giving a pale blue stripe; no cream stripes on sides. Area on top of the thorax between wing bases remains pale greenish blue as sides darken.
  • Wings clear, becoming smoky with age. Costas and subcostas cream, base of hindwing dark brown.
  • Pterostigmas dark brown with lighter centres
  • Abdomen, when young, heavily marked with dark rings against light background, and with a long, thin, dark, dorsal stripe. With age these dark markings become obscured with blue pruinescence. Appendages black with white tip
  • Old males are better identified by inspection of the secondary genitalia.


  • Light brown with striking fine, dark brown lines on shoulders and sides, abdomen with blackish rings and side patches, and a fine dark line runs along the top of the abdomen.
  • Females and young males have well marked bands on the abdomen, with the upper part of the band elongated to make a clear black band around the bottom part of the segment, which is yellow on top in the front and black underneath with the rear part of the segment yellow on top and yellow band underneath.
  • Subcostal Ax veins always pale.
  • Labrum usually all pale.
  • Claspers are dark withe white tips
Compared with other species:
  • Easily misidentified with Bold Skimmer, O. stemmale. O. brachiale has shorter broader abdomen than O. stemmale.
  • O. brachiale face is mostly pale to dark grey above, brown below (dignostic). Top of head dark brown, dimpled.
  • Female claspers are dark compared with the yellowish claspers of O. stemmale.
Distribution and habitat:

http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=%20667830Rare savanna species in South Africa that ranges across the warm sub-tropical eastern and northern parts of
Limpopo Mpumalange and KZN provinces Favours open pools

  • Perches on long grass at the margins
Link to further reading:
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Odonata Atlas of Africa. VMU Number 667830

 Credit for discription to Machael J Samways.



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