St Lucia Basker, Urothemis luciana, St Lucia-sonvangertjie

St Lucia Basker Dec Richardsbay KZN RSA 2019r 3Male
101 538 Urothemis luciana St Lucia Basker Female Cape Vidal KZN RSA Dec 2012Female
101 537A Urothemis luciana St Lucia Basker Male Cape Vidal KZN RSA Dec 2012Male
Short Description:

St Lucia Basker, Urothemis Luciana, St Lucia-sonvangertjie is medium-sized, robust, deep red, with jagged deep reddish brown hind wing patches, and dark reddish brown fore wing flares.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
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Key identification features


  • All deep red.
  • Face and top of head deep brownish red.
  • Eyes deep red, almost blackish.
  • Thorax deep red with no distinctive markings
  • Wings with jagged, reddish brown hind wing patch. Fore wing with amber streaks. 8 - 9 Ax veins
  • Pterostigmas 4.2 mm, buff between thick blackish brown veins.
  • Abdomen bright deep red, segment 1 blackish above, segments 8 and 9 with blackish smudge running along their tops.
  • Appendages red
  • Legs black


  • Similar to male
  • Wing markings, orange and brown rather than red.
  • Standing and probably often temporary waters in open landscapes, but sometimes also open areas in forest.
  • Usually with emergent vegetation and probably often coarse detritus.
  • Only recorded near sea level.

It is a powerful flyer as it wheels above bushes and between trees and only settles on the tops of bushes on cool and overcast days.

Compared with other species:

There are several red coloured species that needs close inspection to identify correctly.

  • Aethriamanta rezia, Pygmy Basker: 118 500 1Aethriamanta rezia Enseleni 2 1  Very small. Eyes brown with red cap on top, mottled grey below. Thorax with black shoulder stripe. Legs black. Wings all with small dark brown flares at the base, hind wings with additional small patch just behind flares, flares are surrounded by amber halo. 6 Ax veins. Pterostigmas reddish brown 2mm. Abdomen wide, bright red with regular black ladder running along entire top. Segment 1 blackish. Superior appendages red.
  • Urothemis assignata, Red Basker:  100 670 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Kozibay KZN RSA MCH 2018r 2 Stout, bright red. Eyes deep red above, mottled dark and light grey below. Legs light red. Hind wings have large dark red angular basal patches with amber hallow. Fore wing has small traces of amber at the base. Wing veins red. Pterostigma yellow brown 4mm. Last Ax vein complete. Abdomen segments 5 -9 have black above with median ladder-like stripe of uneven width, widest on s 8 - 9. Appendages of moderate length, red.
  • Macrodiplax cora. Coastal Pennant: 118 503 Macrodiplax cora Coastal Penant Male Kosi Bay KZN Apr 2016r 1  Wings clear, except for small amber patch at base of hind wings. Abdomen bright red with along top strongly contrasting black hour glass shaped stripe of varying width, broken at each segment joint.
  • Tramea basilaris, Keyhole Glider, 100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 Hind wing patches distinctive keyhole shaped. Thorax dull orange above dark brownish grey with dark brown areas along the side. Abdomen segment 8 triangular shaped mark, S 9 -10 black above. Superior appendages long, dark brown with light base.
  • Tramea limbata, Ferrugginous Glider,  100 1142 Trame limbata Ferruginous Glider Hluhluwe KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2 Hind wing patches distinctive elongated, narrow shaped dark panels close to basel adge of the wing that may appear black in flight.  long brown claspers
  • Tholymis tillarga, Twister. 100 626 Tholymis tillarga Twister Male Tshipise LP RSA MCH 2016r 4  Hind wings with dark brown patch just inside nodus in front half, with white patch outside of it and diffuse amber area inside it. Forewings with diffuse amber area at bases of wings. Abdomen tapered, light red. Appendages long, red, black at tips.
Learn more about Baskers



Pygmy Basker
Other African Species


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South Africa
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Urothemis luciana Distribution Map Africa Distribution Map

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Topographical Map AfricaTopographical Map

South Africa:

  • Rare and only known from coastal northern KwaZulu-Natal. It has also been recorded from southern Mozambique.


  • Mozambique; Republic of South Africa
Further Reading: