Deceptive Widow, Palpopleura deceptor, Valse-weetjie

100 4004 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Old Male Kgomo NWP Apr 2017r 5Male
100 1399  Female LP RSA Sept 2017r 1Female
100 1250  LP Mch 2017r 2Male

Short description:

Deceptive Widow, Palpopleura deceptor, Valse-weetjie is small sized, greyish, light blue pruinescent species, with black to dark tail tip. Blackish streak on fore wings, with a dark spot close to the nodus.

Family Libellulidae (Leach, 1815)

More images:

Key identification features:

Male:

  • Face is creamy white Labrum cream   with dark brown margin. Frons black above with bright metallic blue sheen. Head shiny black and  dimpled with two small ridge-like peaks above,brown with long fine white hairs behind. 100 1902  Male Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 24
  • Eyes dark brownish grey above, bluish grey below 100 1902 Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 24
  • Thorax pale pruinescent greyish blue above,sides yellowish green stripes with irregular regular dark brown outer edges 100 1898 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 9becoming dark blue with brown spots and a creamy stripe towards the lower rear of the abdomen. Underneath the thorax it has six dots in the form of a lion paw print, with 4 tows and two dots on the heal. 100 4005 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Close up Kgomo Kgomo Apr 2017r 1111
  • Wings with blackish spot near nodus of the fore wing. Dark streaks in the front wing leading away from the wing base. Amber markings behind the costa darken with age to well past the pterostigmas to the wing tips while rest of  both wings develops a light amber. Pterostigmas are long (4 mm), bi-coloured when young with outer half dark brown and with cream patch in inner half that may darken to an almost dark black with age.100 1906 Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 38
  • Young male abdomen 100 1259 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Yng Wilge Jan 2023r 11 100 1260 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Yng Wilge Jan 2023r 13 primarily black with yellow longitudinal stripes. With age the abdomen becomes covered in pruinosity while the last three segments stay mainly black with gold/yellow streaks that may disappear with age. 100 1904 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 31   100 1905 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Male Close up RNR GP RSA Mch 2018r 34

Female:

  • Wing is similar male. 100 1933 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female Close up RNR GP RSA Feb 2018r 30 
  • Females and young males are yellow with black stripes and markings when young darkening to pruinose grey Brownish and white with age.
  • Abdomen of females and young males are yellowish brown with three rows of black streaks. 100 1932 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female Close up RNR GP RSA Feb 2018r 29  100 1930 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female Close up RNR GP RSA Feb 2018r 26 Yellow and black but pruinose to grey, yellow and black with age. 100 1399 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female LP RSA Sept 2017r 1
Habitat:
  • Frequents standing and mostly temporary waters in open landscapes, open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often coarse detritus and a soft muddy bottom. 
  • From 0 to 2000 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500, although possibly up to 2400.
Behaviour:
  • Hunts in a powerful darting flight, returning to a regular perch. In flight it can be misidentified as a skimmer. The strongest flyer of all the Palpopleura species. 
  • Females seldom found near the water’s edge. When at the waters edge not easily seen 
Compared with other species:

Males 

  • P. portia and P. lucia have dark patches on the wings. P. lucia 100 707 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Female Numu July 2015r 1 P. portia  100 1297 Palpopleura portia Portia Widow Female Melkrivier LP RSA Sept 2017r 1
  • Black patches in both wings of the female P. lucia is more extensive than the patches of P. Portia.
  • P. deceptor has long black streaks in fore wing only with an isolated dark marking around node. . 100 1933 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female Close up RNR GP RSA Feb 2018r 30  100 1934 Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Female Close up RNR GP RSA Feb 2018r 32
  • Pterostigmas of P. lucia and P portia are bi-coloured: half white and half black with black on outer side. The outer black part of the pterostigmas of P. Lucia follows to the last Px vein (on the wing tip) giving the pterostigma a cat nail like appearance P. jucunda has dark brown pterostigmas. Pterostigmas of P deceptor are black with white/cream in inner half.
  • Similar to Nesciothemis farinosa, Eastern Blacktail  100 558 Nesciothemis farinosa Eastern Blacktail Male Mystic Monkeys Jan 2017r 1  but with only black on abdomen segments 7 - 10 AND no gold markings on abdomen   100 2992 Nesciothemis farinosa Eastern Blacktail Male Close up RdW LP RSA Dec 2019r 26

Females

  • Females of P. lucia, Lucia Widow, 100 707 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Female Numu July 2015r 1 and P. portia Portia Widow  100 1297 Palpopleura portia Portia Widow Female Melkrivier LP RSA Sept 2017r 1 are most like P. portia males, 100 1283 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Haenertsburg LP RSA Dec 2015r 1 but is difficult to separate. Females must preferably be identified or photographed with males.
  • P. lucia,  females have an amber patch in both wings that reaches the hind margins of the wings. These patches may also be prevalent in P. portia, but is lighter and do not reach the hind margins of the wings.
  • Female P. jucunda Yellow-veined Widow, has distinctive dark patches on outer part of both wings, 100 1954 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percherr Male Old Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 but the male have amber patches 100 1749 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up RNR Apr 2017r 10 in the area where the females have dark patch.
Distribution:
Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Distribution Map May 2020Distribution Map
South Africa
Physical Map South Africa Physical Map
South Africa
Political Map South Africa Political Map
South Africa
Palpopleura deceptor Deceptive Widow Distribution Map Jan 2021Distribution Map
Africa
Physical Map AfricaPhysical Map
Africa
Political Map AfricaPolitical Map
Africa

South Africa:

  • Fairly common across the warm north eastern and northern areas of South Africa.  Distribution in LP, MP and northern KZN not common.

Africa:

  • Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
About Palpopleura species
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