Family Libellulidae      (Leach, 1815)

Distribution Worldwide
  • 6 species
    • 1 in Asia
      2 in Madagascar
      3 in Africa
  • 3 species exist in Africa, confirmed in most countries 
 General features
  • All species are easily identified by their small size, unusual spindle-shaped abdomen, and bluish white markings. 
  • Despite marked differences in mature males, females and fresh males are less distinctly marked and may be confused
Habitat and behaviour
  • Prefer sunny and especially grassy marshes
  • A. trifidum preferring those in or near forest
  • Only images of males are shown
  • To view images of female follow the menu links to the main description pages
  • Click on all images to enlarge.
A selection of images


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B, and Clausnitzer, V. (2014). The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa: handbook for all Odonata from Sudan to Zimbabwe. Studies in Afrotropical Zoology, 298, 1-264.
  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Lieftinck, M.A. (1969). Odonates Anisoptères - Odonata Anisoptera. Explor. hydrob. Lac Bangweolo and Luapula, 14, 1-64. [PDF file]