Elegant Dropwing, Trithemis werneri, Siervalvlerkie

ValvlerkMale
 MaleMale
 Female Female
Short description:

Elegant Dropwing, Trithemis werneri, Siervalvlerkie  is medium sized, slender and all orange-brown or brownish red, with a slender abdomen that is heavily marked at the joints.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

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Guides:
Key identification features:

Male: 100 2148 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 5

  • Face is all light orange. Labrum with central dark brown triangle.  100 2151 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 15  100 2150 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 13
  • Eyes with reddish brown cap, mostly greyish brown with dark spots.  100 2151 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 15 
  • Thorax is dull orange with reddish brown shoulder stripes and narrow blackish connected side stripes. Thin dorsal stripe with small brownish arrow shaped marks near the rear of the thorax. 100 2149 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 7  100 2150 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 13 
  • Wings clear with black veins, main veins light brown on underside, fairly large roundish transparent orange patch present at base of hindwings. 100 2156 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 27
  • Abdomen very slender, orange red and heavily marked at joints (less pronounced on young males), especially side view of segments 5 to 10, giving it a striped appearance. S4 about 4x as long as wide (best seen in ventral view). Segment 9 nearly all black with small oval orange red patch. Segment 10 is black.  100 2153 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 16 100 2154 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 18
  • Legs Black with yellow stripes 100 2149 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 7

Females:   100 913 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Female Close up Marlothpark MP RSA Apr 2023r 1

  • Differs from male Light-yellow, orange with yellow to mustard yellow and brown with less pronounced abdominal markings than the male.    
  • Thorax with tree dark brown lines NOT connected at the wing margin (Not forming an "M" pattern) The rearmost line ending in a "Y" split at the wing margin Humeral stripe broad and dark brow. 
  • Light amber patches on hind wing near the thorax and in front and behind nodus.  Small light orange brown patch near the wing base.
  • Wings may have amber parches round the nodus as well as behind the pterostigmas on both hi1nd and fore wings. Small amber patches at wing margins of hindwing 
  • Abdomen with broad dark brown/black line on segment sides with lateral carina.   Black/brown ring marks either side of the segment splits Segment 8-9 has dark triangular mark with the base of triangle at hind margin  Cercus black pointing slightly outwards. 
Habitat
  • Found along wide, swift, open rocky and reedy savanna rivers with an abundance of Phragmites reeds and where there are large trees lining the upper banks
  • From 0 to 1000 m above sea level, but possibly up to 1300.
Behaviour:
  • It perches on the tips of twigs on the tops of bushes or below the high tree canopy, facing the river.
  • Often found some distance away from the water.
  • Female perches in the same habitat.
Compared with other species:
  • Best identified by the heavily striped and ringed abdomen.
  • Trithemis annulata females 100 2117 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Close up Cape Vidal KZN Apr 2016r 25 are similar but with less heavy markings along the joints with S 10 not completely black as in T. werneri. Thorax with clear "M" stripes zigzag  marks
  • Does not have the depth of redness of the common Crocothemis and Trithemis  species.

Learn More about other Dropwings, (Trithemis) Species

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Distribution:

 Distribution Map May 2020Distribution Map
South Africa

Political Map South Africa Political Map
South Africa

Topographical Map South Africa Topographical Map
South Africa

Trithemis werneri Elegant Dropwing Distribution Map Namibia Jan 2021Distribution Map
Africa

Political Map AfricaPolitical Map
Africa

Topographical Map AfricaTopographical Map
Africa

 

 

South Africa:

  • Localised in the Mpumalanga lowveld area, Swaziland and northern KZN 

Africa:

  •  Angola; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; South Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading:

Websites of interest

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