Epaulet Skimmer. Epouletskepper
Click on all images to enlarge or view more
Medium-sized to fairly large, brownish and pale blue, with a light, single stripe on side of thorax
Key identification features:
- Size: Length 39 - 42 - 46mm, wingspan 59 - 65 - 69mm. pterostigmas 2.5 - 3mm
- Face varies from light brownish grey to all grey. Labium, labrum, anteclypeus and postclypeus light grey. Frons pencil grey,squarely spectacled in light grey Head shiny black above, dimpled, with prominent peaks.
- Eyes dull turquoise.
- Thorax dull dark brown with large side stripe becoming indistinct and can become obscured with pruinescence in old individuals. Pruinescent light greyish stripe present, running along top of thorax between wings.
- Wings clear may become slightly smoky with age. Pterostigmas yellowish brown
- Abdomen pruinescent pale blue.
- Light brown with a pale brown face.
- Eyes dull turquoise.
- Thorax greenish to yellowish dark brown with strong light creamish stripe finely edged in black, pale shoulder stripe edged below in black also present.
- Abdomen yellowish brown, darker brown on sides, Thin black line on side of abdomen that broadens at the end before the next segment, A very thin line on the side of abdomen above the primary side line. It has a thin black dorsal line that broadens on s 8 to broader on s-9, with a cross line. S 8 to 9 becoming darker brown above. Dorsal side of s 10 is yellow with black edges. Minute black foliations present on s 8.
Compared with other species:
- O. chrysostigma is recognised in the field by the single, pale stripe on the side of the thorax (which may be obscured with age). O. julia capicola, Cape Skimmer, which is only found in the WCP, has two side stripes.
- O. caffrum is recognisable by a whitish stripe between its wings and two stripes on the side of the thorax with another white shoulder stripe.
- Final confirmation however of males, must preferably be done by examination of secondary genitalia and measurements
Distribution and habitat:
Common and widespread in South Africa
Mostly streams, but possibly also seeps, springs, headwaters, rivers and often temporary standing waters,
in open (often rather dry) landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest. Probably found on calmer sections
(like pools) with a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 2300 m above sea level, but possibly higher up.
- Perches on stems, boulders or ground darts swiftly over water or grassy areas, frequently returning to the same perch, which may be a stem, a boulder or the ground.