Woodland Skimmer, Orthetrum monardi, Bosskepper

 Male Banga Neck KZN  RSA
100 1597   Male Vaalwater LP RSA Apr 2017r 3
 Orthetrum monardi Woodlands Skimmer Male Vaalwater LP RSA
Short description:

Woodland Skimmer, Orthetrum monardi, Bosskepper is small to medium-sized, dull brown mottled thorax and pale blue with short brownish pterostigmas.

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815

More images:

100 1266 Orthetrum monardi Woodlands Skimmer Male Vaalwater LP Apr 2017r 2 images

100 1270 Orthetrum monardi Woodlands Skimmer Male Close up 1 Vaalwater LP RSA April 2017r 2Male









Key identification features:


  • Abdomen 24-30 mm, hindwing 25-30.5 mm, pterostigmas 2-2.5 mm
  • Face is dull brown, slightly bluish above, dark brown on sides darkening with age. Top of the head dark brown, dimpled; low peaks on head. Behind head/eyes brown (diagnostic)
  • Eyes are greyish blue, striped cream and dark brown at back. Back of eyes in front of the neck is striped light brown and cream spots.
  • Thorax all brown to greenish pruinesant brown, with only fine dark brown lines on shoulders and some thin black lines on the side. A short dark line is visible above the humeral stripe that does end about a third of the way to the wings. No pale side stripes.
  • Wings clear becoming smoky with age. Amber patch at base .Cream costas. Ax veins between subcostal and radial veins cream. Ax veins between costal and subcostal veins gets progressively longer to reach a maximum at Ax 3-4 giving the front of the wing a visible curve to the nodus. Hindwing is similarly carved but not as distinct as the frontwing. Light amber patches at the wing base of the hind wing. Light greenish brown between the wings. Pterostigmas very short (2 - 2.5 mm), light brown between blackish brown veins.
  • Abdomen is slender, all pruinescent pale blue.S9 becoming progressively back to black s 10 Cerci is dark grey black with epiproct whitish when viewed from above


  • All greyish dull brown, with faint, dark side stripes and abdominal rings.
  • Standing and often temporary waters, headwater streams, seeps and springs in open landscapes. Often with emergent and usually aquatic vegetation, and a soft (like muddy) bottom.
  • Inferred to occur from 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1400.
  • Perches on stems and reeds.
Compared with other species:
  • Very little thorax compared to Epaulet Skimmer, Orthetrum chrysostigma, and Two-striped skimmer, O. caffrum.
  • Small size is an  important identification feature
  • Pterostigmas unusually short. at 2-2.5mm, light brown between blackish brown veins
  • Final confirmation however of males, must preferably be done by examination of secondary genitalia and measurements
Orthetrum monardi Woodland Skimmer Distribution Map June 2020 Map










South Africa:

  • Recorded from northern KwaZulu-Natal and several sites in Waterberg area, Limpopo. A  new site mapped in Gauteng. The Waterberg site was recently mapped and it appears that there is a healthy population around the Vaalwater area. This species will be found in the warmer low areas of northern and eastern possibly up to 1500 meter ASL South Africa . 


  •  Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Sierra Leone; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia;
Further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Odonata Atlas of Africa 668030



Right Click

Copyrighted material - contact us if you want to buy a photo