100 2120 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male2 Haenertsburg LP RSA Dec 2015r 1 100 2117 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 4 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Ezimvelo Nov 2016

Highland Skimmer      Hooglandskepper

Orthetrum machadoi Longfield, 1955
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Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male1 Haenertsburg LP RSA Dec 2015 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Young Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2019 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019
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 Short description:

Highland Skimmer, Orthetrum machadoi, Genus Orthetrum, Family Libellulidae, medium sized, fairly robust and all pruinescent blue.

Key identification features:

Male:

  • 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 spectacledOrthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 18 also with diffused dark area where frons meets eyes.  Head dimpled above, shiny black with low peaks and no groove.
  • Eyes dull turquoise.Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 18
  • 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 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 
  • Wings clear to slightly smoky. Little (almost a hint) amber at wing base, The costa and antenodal crossveins (ax) are yellowish. 100 2318 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 31 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Pterostigmas long bright yellowish brown with dark anterior margin, of moderate length
  • Abdomen fairly slender, pale pruinescent blue. Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 100 2318 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 31Secondary genitalia has no hair.
  • Sketch of Male Secondary Genitalia 

Female:

  • Young Males 100 2123 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Young Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 3 and female 100 2128 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Ezimvelo Nov 2016r 2 similar in colours and markings 
  • All light yellowish to greenish brown.  Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 100 2128 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Ezimvelo Nov 2016r 2 
  • Face light brown Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 Frons spectacled shaped without the outline of the spectacle as in the male
  • Eyes grown on to becoming light brown belowOrthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018 100 2302 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 5
  • Thorax fairly deep pruinescent blue when old Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019  Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019  When young yellow with faint brown 100 2302 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 5striped that darkens to brown Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Young Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2019 before pruinosing to blue/grey Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvelo NR GP RSA Oct 2019. Sometimes with lighter mottled pruinescence making up a side stripe, in most individuals the blue becomes more or less even across the thorax Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019. 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 young100 2304 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 8, 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 ageOrthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Ezemvero NR GP RSA Oct 2019.   
  • Wings slightly smoky with a hint of amber at the basal edge.Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018
  • Abdomen yellowish brown when young becoming gery/blue . Fine dark stripe running along length of top 100 2307 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 15 .Dark brown side stripe.100 2306 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 14. Small yellow dark rimmed foliations present on segment 8. 100 2307 Orthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 15
Compared with other species:
  • The smaller O. hintzi (Little Skimmer) Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Old Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2016 and the much larger O. julia (Julia Skimmer) Orthetrum julia falsum Julia Skimmer Male Mystic Monkeys Jan 2017 (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) Orthetrum icteromelas Spectacled Skimmer Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017 or lesser defined spectacles of O. abbotti. (Little Skimmer)Orthetrum abbotti Little Skimmer Male1 Close up Ezemvelo Dec 2016
  • Apart from size and a slight difference in habitat preference, it is extremely difficult to distinguish O. hintzi Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Old Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2016  and O. machadoiOrthetrum machadoi Highland Skimmer Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 4 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.
Behaviour:
  •  Perches on grasses and sedges, darting out, then returning to perch.
Further reading and other information:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=3&spp=668000%20%20%20 Books:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.182
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa p. 154
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 149

Websites:

Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Odonata Atlas of Africa. VMU number  668000
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram
Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly and Damselfly
Map of South Africa

 

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