Southern Banded Groundling Brachythemis leucosticta Gebande Grondwagter.
Southern Banded Groundling, Brachythemis leucosticta is medium sized, black-bodied with unmistakable black bands on each wing and yellowish pterostigmas.
Also known as the Banded Groundling
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Key identification features:
- Face brownish. Labrum, anteclypeus and postclypeus mostly dark brown with some paler areas.
- Front of frons and top of head shiny black and dimpled, side of frons light grey with central black spot.
- Eyes mostly brownish black with some grey below. Upper eye has distinctive brown stripes
- Thorax all charcoal.
- Wings each with wide black band between nodus and pterostigma, runs from front margin to hind margin, appears brownish when viewed from certain angles. Pterostigmas pale yellow, brown towards outer edge, becoming deeper brown with age.
- Abdomen charcoal.
- Young males similar to females. Develops band on wings before thorax and abdomen darkens to charcoal grey
- Eyes are brownish grey with dark and light brown stripes on top and grey below
- Thorax blotched (mottled) with brown (light and dark) marks . Blotching tends to be well defined when young Yellow becoming dark mustard colour with age
- Yellowish pterostigmas (diagnostic), dark brown in outer quarter.
- Abdomen is yellow with dark stripes along top and sides.(Diagnostic)
- Young male are similar to females but will develop the black wing marks with age The abdomen change to dark after the black wing marks becomes visible.
- The Banded Groundling was recently split into two species. The Southern Banded Groundling and the Northern Banded Groundling.
- Additional reading Material
Kindred spirits: “Brachythemis leucosticta”, Africa’s most familiar dragonfly, consists of two species (Odonata: Libellulidae).
Paper by Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra & Nataly Matushkina
Compared with other species:
- Mature males are unmistakable due to the wing markings.
- The yellow pterostigmas is diagnostic for the Banded Groundling.
- Females and young males may be mistaken for some Dropwing species as well as the Banded Duskdarter, Parazyxomma flavicans
- Female similar to female Red Groundling (B. lacustris) except on (B. lacustris) the lateral abdomen stripe is light brown and thorax less defined mottled
Distribution and habitat:
- Hawks from the ground (preferred) or from vegetation in, near or away from the water.
- Inconspicuous on the ground but easily observed when disturbed.
- Will follow an observer or animals, hawking on prey disturbed by the animals or observers.
- Often found in large numbers.
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667030
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
The IUCN Red list of threatened Species Least Concern