Jaunty Dropwing, Trithemis stictica, Vrolike Valvlerkie

Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Ezemvelo Nov 2016 Male
Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Young Male Modjadjie kloof Nov Male
Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Young Female Female
Short description:

Jaunty Dropwing, Trithemis stictica, Vrolike Valvlerkie Small with a characteristic uniform powdery blue thorax and a black with yellow abdomen with yellow lengthwise dashes either side of a central dorsal black line.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
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 Guides:
Key identification features:

Males:  100 1048 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Ezemvelo Nov 2016r 2

  • Eyes are uniformly bluish, with a few black mottles. Vertex and dorsum of frons metallic blue. Back of head is bright black and yellow. 100 1541 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017  100 1542 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 14
  • Thorax pruinose pale blue.  100 1542 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 14
  • Wings are slightly smoky with hind wing base clear rather than often amber, with faint central orange brown circular patch present (Both sexes). 10-12½ Ax in front wing. Costal, Subcostal and R1 veins outside of nodus a creamy pink colour. Pterostigmas are dark brown between black margins, 100 1544 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Close up Hertzogberg MP RSA Feb 2020r 13
  • Abdomen slender, black with bright yellow dashes along most of its length. Segments 9 and 10 and appendages all black. 100 1542 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Close up Hertzogberg MP RSA Feb 2020r 11 100 1543 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Male Close up Hertzogberg MP RSA Feb 2020r 12
  • Young males are similar to females.Young Western Cape individuals has brown costas on all wings

Females:  100 1532 Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 9

  • Very dark from above, blackish and yellow.
  • Thorax side yellow, with a dark brown longitudinal  central zig-zag stripe. Distinct yellow stripe present between wings. 
  • Abdomen is much ticker than that of the male. Yellow markings of abdomen is mainly only along the side.
  • No central circular faint splash on hindwing. Young Western Cape individuals has brown costas on all wings
Habitat:
  • Prefers mostly streams, but also rivers and standing waters, in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest.
  • Usually with emergent vegetation and often a sandy, soft (like muddy) and/or probably gravelly bottom, probably especially calmer sections (like pools) with coarse detritus.
    From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1900.
Behaviour:
  • Alert as it perches conspicuously on a stick on reed at a pool or river margin, often darting out to defend its territory.
  • Frequently seen on hot days with its abdomen in the upright obelisk position and its wings forward.
Compared with other species:
  • Unmistakable.
  • T. stictica is the only species in SA with a pale blue thorax, and black and yellow abdomen, and blue, metallic frons.

Learn More about other Dropwings, (Trithemis) Species

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Distribution
Trithemis stictica Jaunty Dropwing Distribution Map May 2020Distribution Map
South Africa
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South Africa
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Distribution Map May 2023Distribution Map
Africa
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Africa
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Africa 

South Africa

  • Occurs throughout much of South Africa, but absent (not yet recorded) from the dry northern Cape and NWP.

Africa

  • Angola; Burundi; Cameroon; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe.
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