Dwarf Percher, Diplacodes pumila, Dwergsittertjie

 male Swartfontein Sept 2016r 7Male
100 880 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Young Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 2Female
100 881 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Young Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 3Female

Short description:

Dwarf Percher, Diplacodes pumila, Dwergsittertjie Very small sized, with clear wings but small amber patches at the base of the wing. The thorax above is reddish brown. The abdomen has yellow on black markings on the side becoming very dark, almost blackish blue with age.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

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Key identification features:

Males:

  • Male small sized,  Length 22-23-25mm, Wingspan 41-46mm, Hind wing 15-19 mm.
  • Face yellowish green. Frons dark yellowish green, black above against eyes. Head shiny black above.Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015
  • Eyes dark brown above, light brown below..
  • Thorax reddish brown to dark brown above, becoming pruinescent uniformly deep grey and dark, with black centre line along dorsal carina, with age  Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015r 5  Long white hairs present on top, sides of thorax yellowish green with irregular and sharp blackish diagonal lines.Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015 Thorax of young males very similar to females 
  • Wings clear, with faint yellowish smoky patch at base of hind wing. Pterostigmas pale yellow between dark brown veins. Always clear near Pt.
  • Abdomen  lender, with dark dorsal and ventral bands, and broken, yellowish side band, giving way to major black at abdominal tip. Cerci is black(dark). S1-3 lightly pruinescent with age, the abdomen can become very dark, greyish (pruinose) black.  Swartfontein MP RSA Jul 2015 

Females:

  • Females become dark blue/brown with age   Old Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017
  • Eyes are light brown on top becoming light grey on the side.100 1568 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 16 100 1569 Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 13
  • Dorsal stripes is light brown with a dark dorsal carina and a dark brown to black curved humeral stripe.  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017 100 1566  Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 10 (these markings look like two brown breads) Side of thorax with broad well defined yellow stripe starting from the front of the wing ending at the front legs bordered on the lower side by a thin black line starting at the wing broadening towards the legs. Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017 Thorax and neck.covered in light grey hair. 
  • Costa and Ax veins are yellow. Pterostigmas pale yellow, darkening with age.
  • Lateral abdomen marks has squarish block like marks on S 1-3  becoming elongated on s4 to s 8  (like a pointing index finger) becoming small teardrop shaped on S 9 and very small on S 10100 1572 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 20 100 1573 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 22
Compared with other species:
  • The head and brown upper thorax with the red, yellow and black thorax patterns makes females and young males of D. pumila  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017 100 1566 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 10 easy to identify when compared with the D. lefebvrii (Black Percher). Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018
  • D. lefebvrii young males and females have a striped upper (dorsal) thorax Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 and no yellow marks on S 9-10. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Abdomen
  • Palpopleura jucunda (yellow-veined Widow) which is also small and in same habitat, has coloured wings, unlike clear wings of D. pumila
  • Small yellow dots on lateral S9-10 is diagnostic for D. pumila.100 1573 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 22
  • Size comparative to Diplacodes deminuta, Little Percher. (not found in South Africabut abundant in Okavango area,  Botswana
Habitat:

Rare and highly localised, having only been recorded in KZN, Mpumalanga, LP and far eastern Gauteng. Some old and new
records from the Western Cape.
Frequents still clear water shallow pans, seasonal pools, flood plains and marshes with lilies and an abundance of tall grasses,
sedge and reeds in open landscapes. Often found in the marshy grassy edges of pools and dams 

Behaviour:
  • Perches very conspicuously on tips of sedge or reeds in open water.
  • Young males and females found a short distance away from the water in tall grass growing in or close to the marshy sides of the water source.
Compared with other species:
  • The head and brown upper thorax with the red, yellow and black thorax patterns makes females and young males of D. pumila  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017 100 1566 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 10 easy to identify when compared with the D. lefebvrii (Black Percher). Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018
  • D. lefebvrii young males and females have a striped upper (dorsal) thorax Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 and no yellow marks on S 9-10. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Abdomen
  • Palpopleura jucunda (yellow-veined Widow) which is also small and in same habitat, has coloured wings, unlike clear wings of D. pumila
  • Small yellow dots on lateral S9-10 is diagnostic for D. pumila.100 1573 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Female Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 22
Distribution :
 Distribution Map June 2020 MapDistribution Map South Africa
Political Map South Africa Political Map
Topographical MapTopographical Map
Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Distribution Map June 2020 MapDistribution Map
Africa
Political Map AfricaPolitical Map
Topographical Map AfricaTopographical Map

South Africa:

  • Rare and highly localised, having only been recorded in KZN, Mpumalanga, LP and far eastern Gauteng. Two locations in the WCPate known but confirmation is required  Some old and new

Africa:

  • Angola; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ruanda. Republic of South Africa; Tanzania; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
Further reading:

Websites of interest

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