Gilded Presba, Syncordulia legator, Goudvlerkswalker.   Flag of South Africa.svg


108 552   Male Kogelberg Western Cape 19 10 2016

Syncordulia legator. Gilded Presba Male

Short Description:

Gilded Presba, Syncordulia legator, Goudvlerkswalker is fairly large to large sized, slender, dark brown and straw yellow.

Family Libelluloidea incertae sedis
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Key identification features:


  • Face is brownish yellow to sunflower yellow Labrum has a darker base.
  • Eyes are light grey with slight grey mottling.
  • Thorax is glossy dark brown with some brown stripes on the side. Distinctive bright yellow dorsal line runs along the top of the thorax up to the wing bases. A yellow dot is present at each wing base, more distinct at fore wings. Wings are clear smoky becoming at the tip.
  • Abdomen slightly and gradually clubbed dark blackish brown with symmetrical mosaic of light yellow, hornlike patches along its entire length, except for segment 10. Segment 10 with yellowish hind margin. Appendages very long, very slender. .


  • Similar colouring to male, but not so slender at the mid-abdomen, and generally much stouter.
  • Eyes much browner than that of the males.
  • Wings distinctly smoky, especially leading edges and tips
Compared with other species:
  • S. venator is very a distinctive reddish brown, yellow-spotted species, which is much redder overall than Syncordulia gracilis and S. legator, both of which are essentially yellowish.
  • S. venator does not have the distinctive yellow stripes on side of thorax as does S. gracilis.
  • It is similar to S. serendipator, both in overall colour and size.
  • S. venator abdominal spots are 'hoof' shaped and pale yellow when viewed from above, whereas they are more solid and orangish in S. serendipator. S. venator also has a fine, widening line along the mid-line of the thorax, barely present in S. serendipator.
Distribution and habitat:

Syncordulia legator Gilded Presba Distribution Map May 2020Gilded Presba, Syncordulia legator, Goudvlerkswalker is endemic to the mountainous areas of the south western part of the
Western Cape Province of South Africa. Very rare and highly localised.
Frequents swift rocky montane rivers with bushy fynbos banks.
From 0 to 700 m above sea level.


It is rarely over water, normally flying in fynbos or over low bushy vegetation, often several hundred metres from the water. Rests close to the ground in thick vegetation, sometimes on the underside of branches where it is highly camouflaged.

Further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 666280

Credit for this description and comparison to Michael J Samways.


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