Two-stripped Skimmer, Orthetrum caffrum, Strepieskepper

100 1186 Male WSBG GP RSA Oct 2015r 4

117 537

100 803  Female WSBG GP RSA DEC 2014r 1

Short description:

Two-striped Skimmer, Orthetrum caffrum, Strepieskepper is medium sized, pale blue and has a brown thorax with two pale stripes on the side of the thorax and a whitish shoulder stripe (dulling with age) and a whitish stripe between the wings.

Also Called the White-lined Skimmer

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

Also known as White-lined Skimmer

More Images:

100 791 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Inanda Oct 2015r 1Image Gallery

100 807 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Young Male Close up Kromdraai GP RSA Oct 2016r 2Male Immature

100 2806  Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019r 3Male

100 2129  Male Moreletta GP RSA Oct 2016r 1Male Mature

Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019Female

 

 

 

 

 

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Key identification features:

Male:

  • Size: Length 39-42-45mm, wingspan 58-64-68mm, Pterostigmas 2.5-3.5mm
  • Face is light grey, but not spectacled.Male Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019 
  • Thorax is light pinkish brown Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Young Male Close up Kromdraai GP RSA Oct 2016 becoming dark brown, Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019 only becoming slightly pruinescent with age 100 2130 Skimmer Male Moreletta GP RSA Oct 2016r 3. 1-3 contrasting whitish stripes (shoulder and two lateral thorax) on each side, each one with dark border on anterior or both sides Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019 that become obscured with pruinescence in very old individuals 100 2130   Male Moreletta GP RSA Oct 2016r 3.The first stripe lateral thorax  curve away and end up between the wings Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Young Male Close up Kromdraai GP RSA Oct 2016 . Strong whitish stripe varying from slightly greyish to cream present between wings running along top of thorax Orthetrum caffrum Two-stripped Skimmer Male Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019, this stripe can become pruinescent blue in old individuals.
  • Wings are slightly smoky. Costa and crossveins are yellowish.  Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019 Pterostigmas are short and light yellowish brown100 2818 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019r 34
  • Abdomen is pale pruinescent blue with tendency to become brown at base 100 2814 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019r 21. Lower claspers shorter than upper claspers100 2815 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Male Close up cCenturion GP RSA Nov 2019r 25

Females:

  • Young males 100 807 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Young Male Close up Kromdraai GP RSA Oct 2016r 2 and females similar Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019
  • Light reddish brown, almost pink in Western Cape.
  • Face mostly light grey with cream labrum. 100 2824 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 16 100 2825  Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 20 100 2823 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 15
  • Eyes light brown. 100 2825 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 20
  • Thorax is light reddish brown with two distinct cream side stripes and a shoulder stripe.100 2821 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 7 It has a whitish stripe running between the wings.100 2828 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 28
  • Wings slightly smoky. Pterostigmas short, light yellowish brown. 100 2828 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 28
  • Abdomen is light reddish brown with weak dark brown side markings running along the length becoming more pronounced at s 7 to full length on s 8-10. Minute black foliations present on segment 8. 100 2826 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 24 100 2827 Orthetrum caffrum Two stripped Skimmer Female Close up Centurion GP RSA Nov 2019r 26
Habitat:
  • Known from nearly all kinds of freshwater habitats, including slow-flowing rivers and their backwaters and swamps, marshes, permanent and temporary pools, ponds, small dams and springs.
  • Occurs from Sea Level to 3000m above sea level, but, although it is found in the WCP at low altitudes above sea level. Occurs mostly between 1000 and 2100.
Behaviour:
  • Perches on sticks or reeds over water, darting out to feed, defend territory or court, returning to perch.
Compared with other species:
  • Two-striped Skimmer, Orthetrum caffrum, is readily recognisable in the field by the whitish stripe between its wings. Although other species (such as O. julia) have pale stripes, they are bluish and not nearly so bright and whitish as in O. caffrum. In addition,O. caffrum has two stripes on the side of thorax, as well as a shoulder stripe. These stripes may become pruinescent blue with age, making this feature not easy to use as an identification aid. The first stripe curve away and end up between the wings. Narrower and more curved in O. caffrum than the stripe on in O. chrysostigma.
  • The only other species with two side stripes is the larger O. julia capicola, which has far less distinct stripes and does not have a creamy white stripe between the wings, but a greyish stripe. Also, pterostigmas are shorter in O. caffrum than O. j. capicola .
  • Forward-pointing hook of hamule is characteristic. O. chrysostigma is recognised in the field by the single, pale thoracic side stripe (which may be obscured with age). O. julia capicola , which is only in the WCP, has two side stripes.
  • Final confirmation however of males, must preferably be done by examination of secondary genitalia and measurements
    Cape Skimmer (Orthetrum julia capicola); Orthetrum chrysostigma (Epaulet Skimmer); Orthetrum julia falsum (Julia Skimmer) 
 Distribution:

Orthetrum caffrum Two striped Skimmer Distribution Map June 2020 Map

Africa Distribution Map June 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa:

  • Fairly common across the WCP, ECP, KZN, FSP, Lesotho, MP, LP and GP. Documented in NCP.

Africa

  • Angola; Botswana; Cameroon; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia;
    Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa;
    Rwanda; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda;
    Zambia; Zimbabwe;
    NOT confirmed: Eritrea; Somalia
Further reading:

Websites
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 667860

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Least Concern
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Observations.org

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