Bold Skimmer Orthetrum stemmale Koenieskepper
Bold Skimmer, Orthetrum stemmale, Koenieskepper, is fairly large, robust and pruinescent greyish blue.stripe between the wings.
Also known as Strong Skimmer
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Key identification features:
- Length 43 - 46 - 50mm: wingspan 64 - 72 - 81mm
- Note: Many of the described features may become dull or disappear with age, due to pruinosity
- Face cream to greyish. Frons greyish, frontal area raised with spectacles outlined in light grey. A most with dorsal dark markings running down onto shields. Labrum often with black border rather than all pale. Head dull black and dimpled with strong peaks above.
- Eyes dull turquoise, becoming brown below.
- Thorax mostly dark pruinescent grey with no stripes, shoulder dark brown with lighter brown stripe showing through pruinescence, light grey pruinescent stripe runs along top between wings. Dorsal stripe of the metepimeron (do not always happen) leans back and joins the carina forming a dark ring with a pale centre. (if visible diagnostic). When younger, thorax greenish brown. with broad "M" shaped yellow bands with blackish lines demarcating the "M" shape Humeral stripe forms a distinct 3 pronged pitchfork mark viewed obliquely from the front This will pruinose with age leaving the middle too of the "pitch fork" for the last to disappear
- Well defined light green/ creamy markings between the wings when young. Pruinose to a grey/blue when old with no stripe
- Wings clear, becoming smoky with age. Basel amber patch. 2 cell-rows in radial planate, sum of cell-doublings in all wings 11-29 [4-29]. Subcostal Ax dark (pale locally in coastal Mozambique and possibly northern KZN)
- Pterostigmas deep yellowish brown becoming darker brown towards front. Pt usually 3 mm or longer, 10% of hind wing length or more (3.7 mm long in fore wing, 3.9 mm long in hind wing). Costa yellow.
- Abdomen usually shorter than hind wing (if longer, S4-6 with transverse bands) Pale pruinescent blue. Pale markings on S4-6 form transverse subapical bands, longitudinal streaks closer to dorsal than lateral carina, or segments largely pale. S7-9 dark but reduce to pruinose with old age. S 10 white. Appendages white but darkens to brownish white with age. Very tips of cerci Black .
- Old male must preferably be identified by secondary genitalia
- Young males and females are the same in appearance with many of the female-like feature disappearing from the males with age
- Female thorax greenish brown. with broad "M" shaped yellow bands with blackish lines demarcating the "M" shape Humeral stripe forms a distinct 3 pronged pitchfork mark viewed obliquely from the front.
- Wings slightly smokey with small basel amber marks.
- Abdomen yellowish brown with fine blackish line along top and at side carinas. S 9 - 10 Blackish brown. Small yellow patch in lateral view on middle lower margin of s 8 (close to lateral carina). Blackish brown ring on front margin of s 5 - 6 broad but incomplete next to dorsal carina. S 7 dark ring on front margin complete with small triangular dots on dorsal front margin. Small dark brown foliations present on s 9. White claspers with black tips. Lower claspers black on top. (dorsal view)
Compared with other species:
- Orthetrum stemmale is a larger than O. abbotti (Little Skimmer) , O. hintzi (Dark-shouldered Skimmer) and O. machadoi.(Highland Skimmer)
- O. julia, (Julia Skimmer) is the only species has dark brownish black pterostigmas.
- O. caffrum (Two-striped Skimmer), O. Julia (Cape Skimmer) has stripe between wings
- O. chrysostigma (Epaulet Skimmer). O. caffrum (Two-striped Skimmer), O. brachiale (Banded Skimmer) has stripe on the lateral thorax
- O. chrysostigma, O. caffrum, O. brachiale has a distinct thoracic side stripes. This may disappear (pruinose) with age.
Distribution and habitat:
Localise to northern KZN and Limpopo Province
Marshy edges of streams and more extensive marshy areas in bushy savanna.
Often with a soft (like muddy) bottom, probably especially pools in stream beds.
From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1000.
- It has a strong darting flight, frequently returning to perch, often away from the water on tall grass stems among bushes.
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 668110
The IUCN Red Data List of Threatened Species. Least Concern
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online