Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii, Swartsitterrjie

100 954 Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 6

100 1107  Young Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 3

100 1113 r Female Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4

Short description:

Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii, Swartsitterrjie is very small to small sized, and all black when mature When immature a yellowish side stripe on the side of the abdomen may be visible.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

More Images:

Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 1Image
Gallery

Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 4Male
Young

Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 2Male

100 3030 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male close up Kozi Bay KZN RSA MCH 2018r 2Male
Old

100 2094 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 2Female

100 892 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 4Female
Mature

Female Old RNR GP RSA Apr 2017Female
Old

 

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Key identification features Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii:

Male:   Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 6

  • Length 27 - 30 - 32mm: wingspan 46 - 49 - 54mm; Abdomen 14-18mm, Hind wing: 18-23mm.
    Note:  These measurements are important to differentiate between the Black Percher and the Dwarf Percher D. pumila. 
  • Frons and top of head dimpled shiny black with slight purple metallic sheen. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 9  100 2694 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 4  100 2081  r Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 10      
  • Eyes  are a deep purplish black. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 9  100 2081 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 10
  • Thorax totally black when mature.100 2694 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 4 May have yellowish green marks before changing to dark Black/brown. Yellow with dark markings similar to female when young 100 2078 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 4
  • Wings clear with small amber patch at base of hind wing changing to very dark almost black with a light amber halo with age .Small, similar in colour. patch in forewing  Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019
  • Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown with dark brown, black front margin and thick black veins, 3.1–3.4 mm long.Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019
  • Abdomen has white/yellow marks on lateral side, peters out on segment 8 all black.These marks becomes very dark brown before becoming almost invisible dark grey/black with age. Superior appendages white but darkening with age becoming a brownish colour not black. Dark tips  100 2698  Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 13  Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019

Female:  100 1113 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4

  • Yellowish green becoming yellowish brown with age Diplacodes lefebvrii, Black Percher, Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016  
  • Thin blackish irregular stripes on lateral thorax. 100 2095 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 5  100 893   Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 1 Three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina on dorsal thorax. 100 2096 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016
  • Hindwing has a basal amber patch, larger than in the male. Diplacodes lefebvrii, Black Percher, Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown between thick dark veins.
  • Abdomen has a blackish stripe above and on sides.  Yellowish side stripe/markings stops at segment 8.   Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 NOTE:s 9 black. Black on s 10 in lateral view Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 
  • Adult females are similar to males, but with some pale markings on the face. Sub adults are coloured with yellow and black markings on thorax and abdomen.
  • The wings of females are more pale coloured and the black area of hind wings in males is replaced by rich amber yellow.

Click here for a complete comparison diagram between Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii  and Dwarf Percher, D. pumila.

Habitat:
  • Possibly also large lakes, in open landscapes, usually with with an abundance of tall grasses, mats of floating algae, other swamp vegetation and emergent vegetation.
  • From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1600.
Behaviour:
  • It rarely flies more than a metre or two, taking-off rapidly and fly low over the water (restless). Usually perches less than half a metre from the water surface and usually on a grass stem or away from water on the ground. Young and immature males may be found well away from water
  • Females lay her eggs with rapid dipping movements on floating algae
Compared with other species:
  • Male is similar to the Dwarf Percher, D. pumila.
  • D. pumila has dark claspers. Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii has white (young) to dark light brown claspers, very seldom black
  • D. pumila has white/yellow spot on s 9. D. lefebvrii s 9 all black.
  • Female D. pumila has uniform brown patched on dorsal thorax either side of dorsal carina. D. lefebvrii has three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina 
Distribution

  

Distribution Map June 2020 Map
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

South Africa:

  • Found at virtually every open marsh. standing and probably often temporary waters in the African continent.

Africa:

  • Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Chad; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of Guinea; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; São Tomé & Príncipe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Socotra (Yemen); Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading:

Websites of interest
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 669120
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species        (Least Concern)

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