Rustic Presba, Syncordulia serendipator, Rustieke Swalker   Flag of South Africa.svg

Syncordulia serendipator Rustic Presba

104 505 Presba Rustic March 2008 Jonkershoek

117 501 Syncordulia serendipator Rustic Presba

Short Description:

Rustic Presba, Syncordulia serendipator, Rustieke Swalker is large sized, stout,is large, stout,dark brown and spotted yellow

Family Libelluloidea incertae sedis
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Syncordulia serendipator Rustic PresbaImage Gallery










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Key identification features:


  • Face all yellowish brown.
  • Eyes dark grey with brownish hue.
  • Thorax glossy, almost entirely brownish black with some paler areas and spots, fine yellow line runs along top up to wing bases, covered with long whitish hairs.
  • Wings clear with black venation,slightly smoky at bases. Pterostigmas black,2.9 mm long.
  • Abdomen stout, very dark blackish brown with paired light orange and squarish spots at end of all but the last two segments. Pale markings on S3-8 concentrated apically on segments. Segment 9 virtually all black, segment 10 with central square yellowish spot. Appendages very robust, dark brown. Cerci stout, less than 3x as long as S10, robustly angled ventrally near base and laterally near apex. Epiproct divide into two branches or forks


  • Similar to male,
  • Overall more robust
  • Pale markings slightly larger
  • Eyes browner,wings slightly darker with yellowish bases.
  • Lobes of female’s vulvar scale less than half as long as the distance between their bases.
  • Prefer streams, but possibly also rivers, shaded by gallery forest, but sometimes in open landscapes. Often calmer sections (like pools) with rocks and probably submerged roots and/or coarse detritus
  • Inferred to occur from 100 to 800 m above sea level.

  • Very powerful flyer, hawking swiftly over pools, leaving abruptly to fly across montane slopes. It even flies up to mountain peaks.
Compared with other species:
  • S. venator (Mahogany Presba) 104 501 Presba Mahogany Nov 2015 Kogelberg is very a distinctive reddish brown, yellow-spotted species, which is much redder overall than Syncordulia gracilis (Yellow Presba) Syncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba Female and S. legator (Gilded Presba) Syncordulia legator Gilded Presba Male Kogelberg Western Cape  both of which are essentially yellowish.
  • S. venator   104 501 Presba Mahogany Nov 2015 Kogelberg  does not have the distinctive yellow stripes on side of thorax as does S. gracilisSyncordulia gracilis Yellow Presba Female
  • S. venator   104 501 Presba Mahogany Nov 2015 Kogelberg   is similar to S. serendipator (Rustic Presba)Distribution Map May 2020 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 orangyish in S. serendipator.
  • S. venator also has a fine, widening line along the mid-line of the thorax, barely present in S. serendipator.
    Full credit for this comparison to Michael J Samways.

Syncordulia serendipator Rustic Presba Distribution Map May 2020










South Africa:

  • Endemic to South Africa   Flag of South Africa.svg
  • Very scarce,with only a few scattered records from the Western Cape mountains, including Riebeeck Kasteel,Bainskloof and Jonkershoek, above 350 melevation.
Further reading:

Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 666270
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Vulnerable
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

Credit MJ Samways Manual of Freshwater Assessment for South Africa Dragonfly Biotic Index