Violet Dropwing, Trithemis annulata, Purpervalvlerkie

102 519 Marmoth 2016 11 06 rust de wnter 06Male
100 1090 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Kosi bay KZN RSA Mch 2017r 11Female
100 668 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Young Female Melkrivier LP RSA Dec 2017r 11 Young Female
Short description:

Violet Dropwing, Trithemis annulata, Purpervalvlerkie is small to medium sized, distinctly stout and violet red.

Also known as Violet-marked Darter, Purple-blushed Darter or Plum-coloured Dropwing

Family Libellulidae    (Leach, 1815)

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Guides:
Key identification features:

Male 100 901 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Komatipoort Sept 2016r 11

  • Labrum is deep red with oval dark brown patch on the lower margin. 100 2029 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 1111Anteclypeus, postclypeus and front of frons deep red with the top of frons and top of head metallic deep reddish purple. 
  • Eyes are dark red with two whitish spots on hind margin. 100 2029 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 1111
  • Thorax is violet red (magenta),100 2026 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 55 becoming violet 100 2026 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 55pruinescent with age, with dark stripes showing through on shoulder and at sides. 
  • Abdomen is fairly stout, pinkish violet, darkening with age to deep dark violet, with small fine deep purple dashes along the top of each segment. Segments 8 to 10 are red, with black dashes.100 2031 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 1313
  • Wings have distinctive red veins. Hindwings have dark orange basal patches. Pterostigmas orange brown with blackish front margins, 3 mm long.100 2033 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Male Close UP RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 1717

Female:100 666 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017r 66

  • Similar in size, all dark brown, yellow and white.100 2124 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 1
  • Thorax with distinct markings
  • Pterostigmas and wing patches are similar than males but wings have orange rather than red veins.
  • Two thin lines on the lateral side of the abdomen 100 3750 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 23with a pattern of markings on the dorsal abdomen ending with broad black patches on 8-9 that is similar to male.100 3751 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 26
Habitat:
  • Mostly standing and often temporary waters, but also rivers, streams and possibly large lakes and flowing channels in marshes, in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often a soft muddy like bottom. 
  • From 0 to 2000 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.
Behaviour:
  • Perches conspicuously on a twig or reed over the water.
  • Hunts by flying rapidly over reeds and water returning to perch very often at the same perch
  • On hot days and evenings, it moves away from the water and perches on the ends of twigs of high trees
Compared with other species:
  • Male is similar to T. pluvialis. (Russet Dropwing) 100 630 Trithemis pluvialis Russet Dropwing Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2015 r 6
  • Near strong flowing rivers in KZN (Ndumo and the northern interior), eastern Swaziland and the Kruger Park, T. annulata, Violet Dropwing often cohabitate with the rare Elegant Dropwing, T. werneri.100 716 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 2
  • Females and males of T. werneri, Elegant Dropwing, 100 715 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Female Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4easily confused with T. annulata, Violet Dropwing 100 666 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Ndumu KZN RSA Mch 2017r 66
  • T. werneri has well defined broad bands on both sides if abdominal segments100 736 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Female Close Up Marloth Park Sept 2016r 15 with T. annulata thin light rings almost not visible.100 3750 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 23
  • Females of T. annulata, 100 3743 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 4T. arteriosa, Red-veined Dropwing, 100 967 Trithemis arteriosa Redveined Dropwing Female Close UP Badplaas Close up MP RSA NOV 2016r 1 T. pluvialis 100 3297 Vaalwater Male Close up Vaalwater LP RSA Mch 2021fr 12 and T. werneri 100 727 Trithemis wernerii Elegant Dropwing Female Close Up Marloth Park Sept 2016r 6have distinct thorax markings. Dark zig-zag patterns but all are distinctly different. 
  • Lateral thorax markings of T. annulata 100 3743 Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Female Old Close 2023r 4are similar to that of T. kirbyi, 100 3721 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Female Old Close up Marlothpark MP Apr 2023r 10Orange-winged Dropwing, but less distinct.

Learn More about other Dropwings, (Trithemis) Species

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Distribution

Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Distribution Map May 2020Distribution Map
South Africa

Political Map South Africa Political Map
South Africa

Topographical Map South Africa Topographical Map South Africa

Trithemis annulata Violet Dropwing Distribution Map Africa May 2023Dropwing Distribution
Map Africa

Political Map AfricaPolitical Map
Africa

Topographical Map AfricaTopographical Map
Africa 

 South Africa

  • Locally Common in Eastern Cape, through KZN and the northern provinces. 

Africa

  • Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
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