Phantom Flutterer     Rhyothemis semihyalina     Fladdergesie

100 1145 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Farm Alicedale Tshipise LP RSA Dec 2015r 1

100 1154 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2017r 4

100 1155 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2017r 5

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
Short description:

Phantom Flutterer, Rhyothemis semihyalina, Fladdergesie is small sized, slender with black metallic green / black thorax and body. Large, metallic brown / black basal splash on hindwing.

More images:

Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Farm Alicedale Tshipise LP RSA Dec 2015Image Gallery

Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017Male

100 2994 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Female Close up RdW LP RSA Nov 2018r 2Young Female

Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017Female

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Key identification features:

Males:

  • Face is brown in front, and dark metallic colour above, with the labrum blackish brown, anteclypeus and postclypeus dark brown. Frons is bright metallic dimpled bluish purple, lower margin dull yellow. Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017  100 2744 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017r 11 
  • Eyes are dark brown Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017 
  • Thorax slightly metallic greenish black, interspersed with some faint yellow brown patches.White hair on dorsal and lower sides.  Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017
  • Wings are short and wide, especially the hind wings and slightly smoky. The hindwing has uniformly dark brown/green metallic antenodal area and a clear postnodal half. The frontwing at most with dark smear near base. The metallic splash in the hindwing is diagnostic. Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Farm Alicedale Tshipise LP RSA Dec 2015  Pterostigmas dark reddish brown and short, 2 mm.
  • Abdomen slender, short and black and may pruinose from the lower side upwards 100 2747 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017r 17. Segment 1-3 brown below Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Male Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017 S 10 Brown above

Females: Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017

  • Slightly stouter.Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017  
  • Thorax not as deep metallic green /purple as the older male.100 2749 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flatterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017r 5 Dorsal thorax with deep blues/metallic green squares either side of the dorsal carina not extending to the hind margin.100 2752 Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017r 12
  • Hind margin of basal wing patch more square than male.Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017
  • Abdomen segment 1 dark brown becoming progressive dark blue/brown to dark deep blue grey at S 10. Pronounced from s 6 to s 10. Pruinose on lower and upper brown parts with age  Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017   Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Rust de Winter LP RSA Dec 2017
Similarities with other species:
  • Unmistakable with the very large splashes on the hind wings. Butterfly like flight is diagnostic.
Distribution and habitat:

Rhyothemis semihalina Phantom Flutterer Distribution Map May 2020Widespread and common in the eastern coastal regions from the far eastern parts of the WCP and the warm northern parts of South Africa.
Records are now showing that it is also North eastern NCP,  FS and Western NWP
Frequents standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes.
Usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation, and a soft (like muddy) bottom.
From 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.

Behaviour:
  • Distinct butterfly like fluttering flight, Rest at the tip of a conspicuous perch, with legs thrust forward and wings raised. Often in territorial fights. Sometimes found flying in tree tops.
Further reading:

Websites:
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 668370    
The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species     LEAST CONCERN
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa

 
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