Two-stripped Skimmer, Orthetrum caffrum, Strepieskepper
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
Also known as White-lined Skimmer
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Key identification features:
- Size: Length 39-42-45mm, wingspan 58-64-68mm, Pterostigmas 2.5-3.5mm
- Face is light grey, but not spectacled.
- Thorax is light pinkish brown becoming dark brown, only becoming slightly pruinescent with age . 1-3 contrasting whitish stripes (shoulder and two lateral thorax) on each side, each one with dark border on anterior or both sides that become obscured with pruinescence in very old individuals .The first stripe lateral thorax curve away and end up between the wings . Strong whitish stripe varying from slightly greyish to cream present between wings running along top of thorax , this stripe can become pruinescent blue in old individuals.
- Wings are slightly smoky. Costa and crossveins are yellowish. Pterostigmas are short and light yellowish brown.
- Abdomen is pale pruinescent blue with tendency to become brown at base . Lower claspers shorter than upper claspers
- Young males and females similar
- Light reddish brown, almost pink in Western Cape.
- Face mostly light grey with cream labrum.
- Eyes light brown.
- Thorax is light reddish brown with two distinct cream side stripes and a shoulder stripe. It has a whitish stripe running between the wings.
- Wings slightly smoky. Pterostigmas short, light yellowish brown.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- Fairly common across the WCP, ECP, KZN, FSP, Lesotho, MP, LP and GP. Documented in NCP.
- Angola; Botswana; Cameroon; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia;
Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa;
Rwanda; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda;
NOT confirmed: Eritrea; Somalia
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