Family Libellulidae        (Leach, 1815)

Distribution Worldwide

  • 20 or more species ranging from Africa to Australia and the pacific region.


  • 5 species in Africa 
General identification features
  • Small to medium-sized (hindwing 21-32 mm), have bronzy black bodies and strongly dark-patterned wings with blue and purple reflections
  • They display their wings while perching pennant-like (at the tip of a conspicuous perch with legs thrust forward and wings raised) or in fluttering flight (almost butterfly-like)
Habitat and behaviour
  • Flight may seems weak, they can be remarkably fast and evasive.
  • At least R. semihyalina migrates at night.
  • Often in groups at some height, gliding to and fro.
  • Prefer open water pans and lakes with reds for perching on, Some species in central africa prefer forested habitats,.

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A selection of images