Blue Cascader,      Zygonyx natalensis     Blouklatertjie

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Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader
1Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader N
Short description:

Blue Cascader, Zygonyx natalensis is fairly large sized and blackish brown with a thin blue pruinescence that is usually patchy and scuffed.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

More images:

 Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2015Image
Gallery

100 2137 Male Farmstay LP RSA Dec 2017r 4Male

100 760  Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018r 1Male

Male Young Male
Young

101 640 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Young Female Nwanedi LP RSA SEP 2016
Female
Young

 

 

 

 

 

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Key identification features:

Males:

  • When young blue yellow and brown 100 2381 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 8 becoming pruinesant grey and brown Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018
  • Face light brown in front, dark metallic blue above. Labrum yellow brown with blackish margin and central dark dimple. Anteclypeus and postclypeus light brown. Frons yellow brown in front, bright metallic blue and dimpled above Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018 extending to peaks on top of head. Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017
  • Eyes dull turquoise to grey.Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018    Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017 When young light blue
  • Thorax mottled light and dark brown, slightly metallic, with long hairs on top front Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017    100 2383 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 29 . Dorsal thorax uniformly blue becoming grey with age. Mature individuals brown and a mottled covering of thin pale blue pruinescence, although overall appearance is one of dark blue, becomes scratched and scuffed with age. Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018 100 925 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018r 4 Shoulders with long, dense white hairs. 
  • Wings are clear, becoming smoky with age 100 2708 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018r 24 . Pterostigmas dark yellowish  brown, lighter on underside 100 2709 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018r 29. 9½-11½ Ax in Fore wing 
  • Abdomen blackish brown with straw-coloured streaks100 2389 ygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 63 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017 becoming dark brown and pruinesant blue with age Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018. Segment 1 to first half of segment 3, and s7- 8 with a thin cover of pale blue pruinescence which creates a dark blue appearance. S4 to 7, S10 and appendages blackish. S7 unmarked, mottled patch on top pruinose, or marked with spots similar to those on preceding segments. S4-7 may flatten and distinctly narrower that the rest of abdomenZygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017,   with s 7-10 rounded S1-6 with yellow and brown Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Young Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017 streaks disappearing with age Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018    Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018

Females:

  • More robust, slightly larger than male Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Young Female Nwanedi LP RSA SEP 2016
  • Thorax dark brown. slightly metallic with yellowish to light brown mottled markings Young Female Nwanedi LP RSA SEP 2016
  • Wings smoky, particularly with age. Pterostigmas dark yellow brown. 101 653 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Young Female Nwanedi LP RSA SEP 2016Young individuals in the Western Cape with amber leading edge to fore wings and small amber patch at base of all wings
  • Abdomen dark brown with yellow brown side markings. Segment 7 with fine yellow line along top of first half. Segment 8 also with fine yellow line along top, but shorter and wider, almost spot-like.101 643 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Young Female Nwanedi LP RSA SEP 2016
Compared with other species:
  • Metallic tip of frons and vertex distinguishes Blue Cascader, Zygonyx natalensis  Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018 and Z. torridus (Ringed Cascader)  Farmstay LP RSA Dec 2017 from Orthetrum (Skimmers).
  • Both Z. natalensis and Z. torridus  hunting  behaviour of flying rapidly over splash zones are similar, but is unlike any Orthetrum (Skimmer)
  • Z. natalensis Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up Mabusai LP RSA Dec 2018 is similar to but smaller than Z. torridusMale Farmstay LP RSA Dec 2017r 2 Z. torridus is blackish brown with distinct yellow marks on abdomen and lightly pruinescent
  • Female Z. natalensis yellow markings make up only a small fraction of the abdominal segments (whereas it is about 50% Z. torridus), Z. natalensis vertex is highly metallic. All brown and only slightly metallic in Z. torridus. The upper corners of Z. natalensis frons are metallic, but yellow in Z. torridus).
Habitat:
  • Rivers and streams in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest.
    Especially faster sections (rapids, falls), usually with rocks.
    From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1900
 Behaviour:
  •  It hawks among bushes and trees away from water. It flies rapidly up and down faster sections (rapids, falls) of streams, usually with rocks, and hovers low over riffles and splash zones
Distribution:


Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Map 05 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa:

  • Found in KZN, MP, LP, GP but localised in WCP and ECP 

Africa:

  •  Angola; Botswana; Central African Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further Reading:

Websites:
iNaturalist
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Least concern
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa.

 
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