Dwarf Percher, Diplacodes pumila, Dwergsittertjie
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.
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Key identification features:
- Face yellowish green. Frons dark yellowish green, black above against eyes. Head shiny black above.
- 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 Long white hairs present on top, sides of thorax yellowish green with irregular and sharp blackish diagonal lines. 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.
- Females become dark blue/brown with age
- Eyes are light brown on top becoming light grey on the side.
- Dorsal stripes is light brown with a dark dorsal carina and a dark brown to black curved humeral stripe. (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. Thorach 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 10.
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 easy to identify when compared with the D. lefebvrii (Black Percher).
- D. lefebvrii young males and females have a striped upper (dorsal) thorax and no yellow marks on S 9-10.
- 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.
Distribution and 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
- 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.
Websites of interest
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667220
The IUCN red List of Threatened Species
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online