Long Skimmer,Orthetrum trinacria, Gestrekte Skepper

117 581 Long Skimmer, Orthetrum trinacria

102 569 2018 10 24 rust de winter mm

100 678 Female Orapa Botswana Apr 2014 r 2

Short Description:

Long Skimmer, Orthetrum trinacria, Gestrekte Skepper is large, with deep pruinescent blue thorax and elongated abdomen with either distinctive pale or dark brown markings or notably dark pruinosity

More images:
100 683 Gaborone Nature Reserve Reserve Apr 2014 1 r 2Image Gallery
100 2274 Orthetrum trinacria Long Skimmer Male Close up Rust de Winter LP RSA Oct 2018r 3Male Old
100 2274 Orthetrum trinacria Long Skimmer Male Close up Rust de Winter LP RSA Oct 2018r 3Male
100 680emale Young Close up Rust de Winter LP RSA Oct 2018r 2Female 

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Key identification features:


  • Length 51 - 55 - 58mm, wingspan 72 - 78 - 86mm, pterostigmas 4 - 4.5mm
  • Eyes are dull turquoise, becoming brownish below
  • Uniformly dark blue-black colour (darker than most other Skimmers in the region) Does not pruinose
  • Large in size with long tapered abdomen, narrowing to a cola bottle shape at s 8. Long claspers
  • Yellow becoming brown stripes on the side of the abdomen darkening to almost invisible with age. No markings on s 8-10
  • Teneral males are similar to females


  • Yellowish green thorax with yellow shaped (s 5-6 distinctly anvil shaped) markings on the abdomen. S 9-10 yellow on side of abdomen
  • This pattern is also visible on young males but will darken to deep brown to almost invisible with age.
  • Frequents the grassy margins of open water (dams, lakes, pans small shallow dams, sometimes along the grassy margins of streams.)
  • From 0 to 1900 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.
  • Perches on the ground, low grass and reeds along the edge of the water. A strong flyer that hunts large insects, including butterflies and dragonflies.
Compared with other species:
 Distribution Map June 2020 Map










South Africa:

  • Common across large parts South Africa but not yet recorded from the western central dry areas.


  • Algeria; Angola; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Egypt; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Somalia; South Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
Further reading:

Websites of interest
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 668120
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa


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