Also known as Wondering Glider, Globe Skimmer
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Fairly large sized, light orange with a tapered abdomen with distinctive black bowl shaped markings at the hind margin
Key identification features:
- Face and top of head is light yellow and light brown.
- Eyes are reddish brown above, mottled light grey, dark grey and pale yellow below.
- Thorax is dull greenish orange above, greyish at sides with a few sparse dark brown markings (Indicting colouring and markings}.
- Wings are long, pointed and clear, sometimes with small diffuse amber areas especially at tips. Pterostigmas pale brown, 2.8–2.9 mm in forewings, 2.2 mm in hindwings.
- Abdomen is pointed fuselage-shape. S2-8 dull orange with some irregular dark elongated arrow shaped brown patches that increase in size and intensity towards end of abdomen, becomes reddish in some older individuals. S 8-9 has black bowl shaped mark. S10 a small round black mark markings. Appendages are long, dark brown.
- Similar to male, but browner and stouter with the dorsal abdominal markings more distinct than male.
Compared with other species:
- Similar to Tramea basilaris, (Keyhole Glider) , Tramea limbata. (Ferruginous Glider) and Urothemis assignata, (Red Basker) but has no wing markings and different dorsal abdominal patterns. Colour is more yellow in females and yellow with orange and yellow abdomen in males.
Distribution and habitat
Pantala is a wanderer and a migrant and occurs throughout southern Africa.
Found on all continents except Antarctica
Known is the insect that travels the longest distances over water (sea)
- Breeds in warm, shallow, grassy temporary pools, although it is usually on the wing in bushy areas, especially bushy savanna, where it often flies in groups.
- It wheels and glides, sometimes singly but usually in groups, which may include other species such as the Gliders.
- It flies in open areas between bushes and trees, and also along roadsides and in gardens or over swimming pools.
- Male and female mates in the air and then female will oviposit while coupled by dropping eggs in the water by touching ovipositor on the water. Also seen ovipositing on shiny surfaces like vehicles
Further reading and other information:
Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 668230
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online