Brown Duskhawker, Gynacantha (A) villosa, Bruinskemerventer

107 564 Brown Duskhawker Gynacantha villosa Female Lusaka Zambia July 2018r 3107 566 Brown Duskhawker Gynacantha villosa Female Lusaka Zambia July 2018r 4107 563 Brown Duskhajer Femal 2

Short description:

Brown Duskhawker, Gynacantha (A) villosa, Bruinskemerventer is very large sized, mottled dull brown with smoky wings, especially at the base.

Family Aeshnidae Leach, 1815

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Key identification features:


  • Face olive green. Nose dark brownish olive green with dark brown T-shaped marking above.
  • Eyes olive green above, pale green below, with a yellow hind margin.
  • Thorax relatively unmarked, light greenish brown, distinctly hairy. Rim of metastigma black, contrasting with colour of thorax
  • Wings wings may be tinted (smoky), but without distinct subcostal rays, becoming dark with age. About 22 - 28 antenodal crossveins in forewing. 2  cell-rows between R2 and R3 proximal to Pt, save occasional cell. Anal triangle with 4 cells (3 - 6). Pterostigmas reddish dark brown, 4.5 mm long.
  • Abdomen long, slender, reddish dark brown with emerald saddle on segment 3. S3 waisted near base. Auricles emerald green with black tips and 6 teeth. Ventral carinae S5-6 and usually S4 with denticles (Tooth-like spines), rather than all being bare. Cerci with distinct ventral lump near base (lateral view), widened and sharply cut-off at end, inner border bisinuous, concave roughly 2/3 from base


  • Female similar to male
  • Abdomen much thicker and with a less to almost no waist at s 3
  • Wings become very smoky with age.
  • Standing and mostly temporary waters shaded by (gallery) forest.
  • Probably often with coarse detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom.
  • From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1700.
  • 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:
  • Very large in size.Larger than Little Duskhawker, G. manderica .
  • Little Duskhawker, G. manderica has 13 - 19 Ax veins in forewing.
  • Eastern Duskhakwer has greenish colouring. rather than the brownish of the Brown Duskhawker.
  • Eastern Duskhawker does not have black rim around the metastigma
  • G villosa has 2, rather than 3 cell-rows between R2 and R3 proximal to Pt, save occasional cell
  • Female G. villosa the only Dukhawker, Gynacantha, with a broad abdomen
Gynacantha villosa Brown Duskhawker Distribution Map July 2020








South Africa

  • Extremely rare (but due to behaviour new records may be found)
  • Found in KZN with a recent record in Mpumalanga


  • Botswana; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading:

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