Highland Skimmer Hooglandskepper
Orthetrum machadoi Longfield, 1955
|Images||VeryYoung Male||Young Male||Mature Male||Female||Mature Female|
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Key identification features:
- Lenght 37-41 -44mm, wingspan 53-61-66mm, pterostigmas 3.4–3.6 mm
- Face light greyish blue. Labium greyish cream with or without dark median band. Anteclypeus and postclypeus light grey. Frons light to mid grey, with hint of being spectacled, also with diffused dark area where frons meets eyes. Head dimpled above, shiny black with low peaks and no groove.
- Eyes dull turquoise.
- Lateral thorax without clearly defined markings (like the female) when young, becoming mottled blue brown to pruinesant grey with age Thorax fairly deep pruinescent blue, sometimes with lighter pruinescence making up a side stripe, in most individuals the blue is more or less even across the thorax although a lighter area forms a diffuse stripe along top between wings. Slight darker blue
- Wings clear to slightly smoky. Little (almost a hint) amber at wing base, The costa and antenodal crossveins (ax) are yellowish. Pterostigmas long bright yellowish brown with dark anterior margin, of moderate length
- Abdomen fairly slender, pale pruinescent blue. Secondary genitalia has no hair.
- Sketch of Male Secondary Genitalia
- Young Males and female similar in colours and markings
- All light yellowish to greenish brown.
- Face light brown Frons spectacled shaped without the outline of the spectacle as in the male
- Eyes grown on to becoming light brown below
- Thorax fairly deep pruinescent blue when old When young yellow with faint brown striped that darkens to brown before pruinosing to blue/grey . Sometimes with lighter mottled pruinescence making up a side stripe, in most individuals the blue becomes more or less even across the thorax . A lighter area forms a diffuse stripe along top between wings The dorsal thorax uniformly brown with darker small spots with a narrow darker brown shoulder stripe visible when young, this brown mark may pruinose to a darker blue than the surrounding area The dorsal thorax pruinose to a dark blue becoming dark grey with age .
- Wings slightly smoky with a hint of amber at the basal edge.
- Abdomen yellowish brown when young becoming gery/blue . Fine dark stripe running along length of top .Dark brown side stripe.. Small yellow dark rimmed foliations present on segment 8.
Compared with other species:
- The smaller O. hintzi (Little Skimmer) and the much larger O. julia (Julia Skimmer) (which has black pterostigmas) and the more slender, distinctly spectacled O. icteromelas (Spectacled Skimmer). are all-blue Orthetrum species
- O. machadoi does have but not have the sharply defined spectacles of O. icteromelas (Spectacled Skimmer) or lesser defined spectacles of O. abbotti. (Little Skimmer)
- Apart from size and a slight difference in habitat preference, it is extremely difficult to distinguish O. hintzi and O. machadoi, the differences being mainly in the colour of the top of the frons, (it is dark grey to blackish in O. hintzi but mostly light grey in O. machadoi ) and the shape of the secondary genitalia hamules.
Distribution and habitat:
- Common in GP, LP, MP and KZN with records from NWP (probably due to lack of observers) ECP and WCP (very uncommon)
- Marshy grassland, shallow grassy swamps and grassy, flooded margins of rivers.
- Perches on grasses and sedges, darting out, then returning to perch.
Further reading and other information: