Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
Worldwide Distribution
  • More than 40 species mainly in Africa. 2 Species endemic to Madagascar 5 Species endemic to Asia
  • Eleven species are present in the southern African Region
  • Found at all kinds of freshwater habitats
  • Over 40 species in Africa
  • Two more endemic to Madagascar
  • Five more endemic to Asia
General information:
  • The name Dropwing as used for this genus is due to the way it perches with wings held downwards and forwards when at rest.. Note: This way of perching  may be seen in other species of Dragonflies that is not in the Dropwing genus
  • Small (30 mm) to medium sized (53 mm) (hindwing 21-35 mm) sized  Click HERE Size 1 for size diagram
  • Male colour typically bright. Female typically cryptic colours and well-marked
  • Dropwing species can be grouped loosely based on colour, habitat, and genitalia
  • Colours within the genus
    • Predominantly red (russet or brownish) with maturity, appearing violet if pruinose, with striking orange or yellow wing patches often with wing markings or coloured veins
    • Largely dark, often (partly) blue or black pruinose with maturity, light blue or a mid-blue usually with reduced wings markings.
    • Colours change markedly with maturation. Red, violet or pruinose parts may be yellowish, brown or black in young or preserved specimens
  • By scientific name in alphabetic order
  • Only males are shown
  • Males and females differ in colour .For this guide we will show only mature males (where possible)
 Grouping of the south African species by colour
Red, Violet or Brown Group:



Blue Group








Mid Blue
Light Blue