Dark-shouldered Skimmer  Orthetrum hintzi  Donkerskofskepper

100 2087  Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2016r 1

100 2093  Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Dec 2015r 5

100 2102 Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Fresch Male Ezemvelo GP RSA Sept 2017r 2

Short Description:

Dark-shouldered Skimmer, Orthetrum hintzi, is medium sized, fairly slender and all pruinescent blue when mature.

Family Libellulidae,

More Images:

100 2089 Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Old Male1 Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2016r 3Image Gallery

100 2103 Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Male Close up Ezemvelo Dec 2016r 2Male

100 2109 Orthetrum hintzi Dark shouldered Skimmer Female Close up Ezemvelo Dec 2016r 2Female






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Key identification features:


  • Length 35 - 38 - 43mm,  wingspan 53 - 57 - 64 mm,  Pterostigmas 3.2 - 3.3mm
  • Face greyish. Labrum greyish cream with median dark brown band. Anteclypeus, postclypeus and side of frons light greyish cream. Frons not spectacled, bluish grey in front, black when viewed from above. Head shiny black and dimpled above with very low peaks.
  • Eyes dull turquoise, greyish below.
  • Thorax is all pruinescent blue, slightly darker above when mature. When young the dark shoulder stripe is diagnostic The thorax will darken in a blotchy pattern till all dark before pruinose to all pale grey. .
  • Wings clear to slightly smoky. Subcostal Ax veins mostly pale. Yellow Costa veins. More noticeable between the nodus and the pterostigmas. Double cells in the Rspl loop may be from 0 to 14 in all wings combined.
  • Pterostigmas very large, narrow, yellowish brown.
  • Abdomen narrow, all pale pruinescent blue. When young resembles the female


  • Face and eyes light brown. Thorax sides all greenish yellow brown, wide dark brown shoulder stripe present.
  • Bases of all four wings with small dark brown to orange splashes.
  • Abdomen Segments 1 to 3 mostly yellowish. S 4 to 8 yellowish and dark brown at sides. S 9 and 10 dark brown with yellowish spots. When looked from above the black marks from the side 'wraps" over to the dorsal side.
  • Foliations small, yellow with black edges
  • Standing and often temporary waters, seeps and springs, in open landscapes and open areas in forest.Usually with emergent vegetation and often a soft (like muddy) bottom.
  • From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly below 1800.
  • It has a fairly slow zigzag flight. Often returning to same perch, usually a grass stem or reed close to the ground and not usually over the water.
Compared with other species:
  • One of three all pale skimmers (the other two being O. abbotti (Little Skimmer) and O. machadoi (Highland Skimmer)). Recognised in the field by its small size and blackish upper surface of frons. The frons has no ‘spectacles’ as in the O icteromelas (Spectacled Skimmer) or O. abotti.

Distribution Map June 2020 Map








South Africa:

  • Dark-shouldered Skimmer, Orthetrum hintzi, Donkerskofskepper is found in the eastern and northern parts of South Africa 


  • Angola; Benin; Botswana; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of Guinea; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667930
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species   Least Concern