Jaunty Dropwing Trithemis stictica Vrolike Valvlerkie
Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
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.
Click on all images to enlarge or view more
- Guide to Dropwings - General (Trithemis)
- Guide to Dropwings - Blue
- Guide to Dropwings - Red/Orange/Brown
Key identification features:
- Eyes are uniformly bluish, with a few black mottles. Vertex and dorsum of frons metallic blue. Back of head is bright black and yellow.
- Thorax pruinose pale blue.
- 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,
- Abdomen slender, black with bright yellow dashes along most of its length. Segments 9 and 10 and appendages all black.
- Young males are similar to females.Young Western Cape individuals has brown costas on all wings
- 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
Compared with other species:
- T. stictica is the only species in SA with a pale blue thorax, and black and yellow abdomen, and blue, metallic frons.
Distribution and habitat:
Occurs throughout much of South Africa, but absent (not yet recorded) from the dry northern Cape and NWP.
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.
- 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.