Spectacled Skimmer. Brilskepper
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Medium size and fairly slender. All evenly pruinescent blue. The females and immature males have distinctive black and yellow markings on the abdomen. The frons (varying from yellow in the young to light blue in the old) has spectacled shaped black marking, giving this species its name.
Key identification features:
- Lenghth 39 - 44- 45mm; wingspan 58 - 61 - 64 mm
- Face mostly grey. Labium cream with median dark brown line. Labrum cream with central grey area, blackish spearhead marking middle. Anteclypeus, postclypeus and frons light greyish blue, edged with fine black lines. Frontal shields ringed with black, like spectacles (these absent if young) .
- Head strongly grooved, without peaks, black above. Eye margin black with black and yellow marked occipit
- Eyes dark turquoise.
- Thorax pruinescent greyish blue, with darker shoulder stripe which can become obscured with pruinescence.
- Wings are clear to slightly smokey. Pterostigmas are very long and narrow (usually 3 mm or longer, 10% of hindwing length or more), light yellowish brown, with a dark brown anterior margins
- Light green stripe between wings
- Abdomen is slender and same greyish blue as thorax, as long as hindwing or longer. When not pruinose, pale markings on S 4-6 form longitudinal streaks closer to lateral than dorsal carinae (hour glass shaped)
- Females and immature males similar
- Slender, light yellowish brown and dark brown.
- Face light brown.
- Eyes greenish brown above light green below. Eye margin black with a spectacled shaped pattern occipit. Spectacle rim black with yellow spots inside
- Thorax strongly striped, almost gomphid-like.
- Abdomen with wide, dark stripe above. Segments 1 to 3 bulbous, with central, long dark stripe in side view. Segments 4 to 8 dark brown with long yellow side dashes. Segment 9 mostly dark brown, segment 10 yellow above. Foliations present, minute, scarcely noticeable.
Compared with other species:
- Characteristically a medium-sized, all blue, slender Orthetrum species with long pterostigmas and clearly spectacled frons.
- It is larger than O. hintzi (Dark-shouldered Skimmer) and, unlike that species, usually perches over water.
- The grooved vertex, without peaks, and labrum, with its central blackish spear-shaped dash, are distinctive.
Distribution and habitat:
Found in the humid part of the southern African region. It does not occur in the arid southwest or at the Cape. From southern KZN,
Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and further north into Africa.It occurs at shallow flooded pools and the flooded margins of rivers
with an abundance of long, emergent grasses.
From 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500. with an abundance of long, emergent grasses.
- Perches on grasses and reeds in shallow water, often darting out and returning to the same perch. It frequently takes other dragonflies as prey, some being as large as itself
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Least Concern)
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667940
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa