102 031 2020 01 18 Mac mac 2100 459 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Male Mac Mac Falls Sabi MP RSA Febr 2020r 3105 012 Pseudagrion newtoni Male 2016 01 30

Harlequin Sprite    Harlekyngesie   Flag of South Africa.svg

Family Coenagrionidae Kirby, 1890

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100 458 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Male Mac Mac Falls Sabi MP RSA Febr 2020r 1Images Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 2Male100 460 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 1Female






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Short Description:

Small, bright, multi-coloured, orange head, green sides, blue abdominal tip.

Key identification features:

Male:

  • Face orange. Labrum bright orange. Cheeks and postclypeus yellowish orange. Top of head dull black with light orange postocular spots and light orange line between them.Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 13
  • Eyes deep reddish brown above, yellowish brown below. Neck black with light orange markings. Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 13 100 472 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 16
  • Thorax dull black with glossy black and light orange stripes above, sides bright light green, lower part bluish green.Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 5 100 470 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 8100 471 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 10
  • Wings clear. Pterostigmas reddish brown. 100 477 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 35
  • Abdomen glossy greenish black above, bluish green below. Second half of segment 7 with saddle-like markingand all of segments 8 and 9 bright blue. 100 474 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 18 100 475 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 30Segment 10 black with a distinctive bright blue heart shape marking dorsally. 100 476 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Sprite Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 22All blue markings made vivid by being edged with deep black. Superior appendages black.

Female:

  • Buff and pale green face, top of head dull black,100 460 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 1
  • Eyes yellowish green with dark brown cap, 100 461 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 5
  • Thorax 100 461 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 5glossy greenish black and bright yellowish green 100 463 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 7
  • Abdomen glossy greenish black and bright yellowish green, segments 7 to 9 with distinct splashes 100 466 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 19  100 467 Pseudagrion newtoni Harlequin Spritel Mac Mac Falls MP RSA Jan 2020r 24
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to Pseudagrion hageni, Painted Sprite.
  • P. newtoni has a distinct yellowish orange face.
  • P. newtone has much smaller blue saddle like marking , not black, abdominal segment  S 7.
  • P. hageni tropicanum has an all greenish thorax, where P. newtoni is orange above with green on the sides.
  • P. newtone and P hageni tropicanum share habitat.
Distribution and habitat:

http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=3&spp=663530Endemic to South Africa.
Previously seen as localised to KZN, but new records from Mpumalanga Province indicate lack of research into this species.
Preferred habitat is fine, tall grass and reeds overhanging swift, rocky, montane rivers.
Inferred to occur from 1000 to 1800 m above sea level.

Behaviour:
  • Perches on the grasses surrounding flowing rocky stream where it is actively hunting therefore easily seen 
Additional information:
  • P. newtoni is known from only a few location, where it is abundant, and it is expected to occur elsewhere in the KZN and Mpumalanga areas because extensive alien invasive tree removal is underway to improve habitat there. It is clear that the population has suffered a severe decline in the recent past.
  • In addition to the species' natural rarity, its specialized riparian habitat (tall grasses) is under threat from increasing pressure from domestic livestock (especially cattle) visiting the water's edge. In Mpumalanga it is found in the grassland streams between forested areas and further investigation is required in this area as it may be seen in a wider yet restricted area as what is presently known Illegal gold mining is placing the habitats near Pilgremsrest under severe pressure
  • Not listed as Endangered because it occurs in a type of general habitat that is very extensive and has not been fully explored and because the removal of alien trees has an extremely beneficial effect on this species; there is a trade-off between improvement of habitat by tree removal and deterioration through overgrazing.
  • It is assessed as vulnerable based on its restricted range.
Further reading:
Websites of interest
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Warwick Tarboton 
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 663530

Credit  Michael J. Samways & John P. Simaika. Manual of Freshwater Assessment for South Africa: Dragonfly Biotic Index

 

 

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