Genus Palpopleura Rambur, 1842

Distribution in Africa and surrounding Islands
  • Five species occur in Africa, one in Madagascar and one in southern Asia.
General identification features
  • Very from medium to fairly small (hindwing 15-29 mm) in size
  • Short and broad abdomen with a characteristic pattern of three black and four yellow stripes, which becomes pruinose with maturity.
  • Easily recognised by the fore wing costa that is wavy, concave halfway between base and node; waviness only weak in P. deceptor (Deceptive Widow)
  • Occipital triangle small with rather concave borders, eyes touching over distance of at least half its length.
  • Either Pt bicoloured (half white and half black)
  • Wings have extensive dark markings (normally at least covering hind wing triangle or subcostal space of fore wing with dark streak), or both
  • P. deceptor (deceptive Widow) named for its deceptive similarity to Hemistigma (Piedspots)
  • The females of both are most like P. portia males, but can can be be separated at very close inspection
Habitat and behaviour:
  • P. deceptor favours seasonal pools, P. jucunda grassy marsh.
  • The tiny P. albifrons occurs very locally at small grassy pools and damp spots, often near forest
  • Most species inhabit rivers and streams, where adults can be elusive and furtive, while larvae are easier to find.
  • Perches mostly on rocks, tops of branches or grass stems
About Palpopleura species
  • Click on image or species name to learn more
Genus Palpopeura Distribution Genus AfricaGenus Palpopeura
Palpopleura deceptor Distribution Map afrPalpopleura Deceptor
Palpopleura portia Portia Widow Africa Distribution Map Mch 2021Palpopleura portia
Palpopleura lucia Distribution Map AfricaPalpopleura lucia
Palpopleura jucunda Yellow veined Widow Distribution Map Africa Nov 2021Palpopleura jucunda
Palpopleura albifrons Distribution Map AfricaPalpopleura albifrons
  • Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014