Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii, Swartsitterrjie
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.
Click on all images to enlarge or view more
Key identification features Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii:
- 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.
- Eyes are a deep purplish black.
- Thorax totally black when mature. May have yellowish green marks before changing to dark Black/brown. Yellow with dark markings similar to female when young
- 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
- Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown with dark brown, black front margin and thick black veins, 3.1–3.4 mm long.
- 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
- Yellowish green becoming yellowish brown with age
- Thin blackish irregular stripes on lateral thorax. Three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina on dorsal thorax.
- Hindwing has a basal amber patch, larger than in the male. 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. NOTE:s 9 black. Black on s 10 in lateral view
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Found at virtually every open marsh. standing and probably often temporary waters in the African continent.
- 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
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)