African Piedspot, Hemistigma albipunctum Bontkolletjie.
African Piedspot, Hemistigma albipunctum, Bontkolletjie is small sized, slender, powdery pale blue dragonfly with creamish face and bi-coloured pterostigmas.
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Key identification features:
- Face have a shiny slightly blue metallic frons with creamy dot either side of the facial shield. Head shiny black above with slight metallic blue sheen.
- Eyes mid grey above,
- Thorax mottled yellow becoming pruinescent greyish blue with whitish hairs. Creamy stripe on the dorsal thorax carina. May disappear with age
- Wings light smokey with bright yellow amber between the the costa end radius veins becoming darker towards the outer margin of the wing . Forewing usually but not always with a dark almost black amber streak between the costa and radius vein (± Ax 3 to Ax 9), a smoky patch. Pterostigmas distinctly whitish on inside yet blackish on outside.
- Cerci are short whitish with black edge stripes and black tips
- Thorax sides mostly plain, yellowish. Yellow streak runs along neck and length of thorax between wing bases, This streak is sharply outlined in dark brown on neck and first part of thorax
- Frons creamy below upper darkish brown/black brown stripe below, Clypeus and labrum white to light grey
- Wings light smokey with bright yellow amber between the the costa end radius veins becoming darker towards the outer margin of the wing. Brown wing tips, Bi-coloured pterostigmas.
- Abdomen dark brown stripe on sides . Black line on top of abdomen broadening towards the hind margin
- Claspers whitish with black tips and edge stripes.
Compared with other species:
- Similar to the Skimmer (Orthetrum) species due to the blue-grey pruinose thorax and abdomen.
- Diagnostic on the African Piedspot is the bi-coloured pterostigmas and very distinctive colours of the eyes and face.
- H. albipunctum has a creamy stripe on the dorsal thorax carina. This is not present on P. deceptor.
- Males are similar to Deceptive widow (Palpopleura deceptor) but have a long slender abdomen and do not have the spot at the nodus and dark streak between the costa and radius veins as distinctive in P deceptor.
- Female Hemistigma albipunctum may be confused with the female Eastern Blacktail (Nesciothemis farinosa) . Both species have a cream dorsal stripe and dark wingtips as well as a broad black stripe on the side of the abdomen
Distribution and habitat:
African Piedspot, Hemistigma albipunctum, Bontkolletjie Locally common in the warm north and east of South Africa.
Prefers standing and often temporary waters, as well as rivers and possibly flowing channels in reed-choked marshes and swamps (sometimes with
minimal water), in open landscapes, open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often coarse detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom.
From 0 to 1900 m above sea level, but mostly below 1400.
- Perches on reed or grass stems, darting out, then returning to perch, often a different perch.
Websites of interest:
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667380
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern