117 502 Zosteraeschna miniscula Friendly Hawker 108 555 Zosteraeschna minuscula Friendly Hawker Male Mont Rochelle Western Cape 29 10 2016 117 610 Zosteraeschna minuscula Friendly Hawker

Friendly Hawker.      Vrolike Venter.

Family Aeshnidae Leach, 1815
  • Zosteraeschna minuscula (McLachlan, 1895)
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117 609 Zosteraeschna minuscula Friendly HawkerImages

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Short description:

Large sized, striped and speckled greenish yellow and brownish abdomen with distinct blue saddle at base of abdomen and distinctive dorsal stripes on thorax.

Key identification features:


  • Recognised by the distinctive dorsal stripes on the thorax. Straight and parallel, light green in colour.
  • There is a clear anchor shaped mark on the forehead.
  • Abdomen is mostly dark brown with pairs of yellowish green spots dorsally, and double, light-blue spots on side. In side view, S1 and S2 have a yellow, lateral stripe which runs into a bright blue lateral patch on S3. From above, S2 has a short, longitudinal yellow stripe leading into a dorsal, cobalt blue patch


  • Greener than male’s yellowish green, more reddish than male’s dark brown, wings smokier and sometimes dark brown in young females
  • Abdomen without blue and with fewer spots on first few segments.
Compared with other species:
  • Z. minuscula as more brownish and not as green as Pinheyschna subpupillata and prefers pools rather than streams as does P. subpupillata
  • The blue abdominal saddle is visible in flight but is not as big as in Anax ephippiger.
  • The two distinctive features of Z. minuscula are the narrow (1 mm wide), yellow, parallel stripes on front of thorax, and the anchor-like, black marking on upper surface of frons.
  • In Z. usambarica the dorsal stripes are light green, wedge shaped and the frons above has a pentagonal-like, black marking.
  • Z usambarica also have a blue saddle but larger than Z minuscula
Distribution and habitat:

Friendly Hawker (Zosteraeschna minuscula) Distrbution MapNear endemic to South Africa.
From Western Cape, through the high lying interior of South Africa. 
Prefers small, open pools with an abundance of fringing reeds. Occasionally marshes and pools
along fast flowing streams running through grassland. Mostly montane but occasionally at sea level.

  • Hawks slowly up and down along margins of pools, inquisitive often approaching closely, when its colour and pattern can be easily seen. Does not seem to be disturbed easily.
Further reading:

Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 664510
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online


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