Yellow-veined Widow   Palpopleura jucunda   Geelaarweetjie

100 1735 Male Rustenburg LP RSA Sept 2017r 2

100 1734  Male Welgevonden RSA Dec 2017r 1

100 2053 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Female Mooinooi NWP RSA Dec 2015r 7

Family Libellulidae Leach, 1815
Short Description:

Yellow-veined Widow, Palpopleura jucunda, Geelaarweetjie is very small sized, brown and powdery pale blue, with striking yellow veins and dark brown and yellow splashes on the wings. 

More images:

100 1734 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Welgevonden RSA Dec 2017r 1Image Gallery

100 1737 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up Rustenburg LP RSA Sept 2017r 2Young Male

100 1744 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up RNR Apr 2017r 1Male 

100 1946 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percherr Male Old Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 5Female

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Key identification features:

Male: 100 2054 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Mooinooi1 NWP RSA Dec 2015r 3

  • One of the smallest dragonflies in southern Africa.
  • Face yellowish with frons brilliant shiny metallic blue on top.  100 1741 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up Rustenburg LP RSA Sept 2017r 7
  • Thorax dark brown above, yellowish green between wing bases, sides yellowish with black lines along sutures.  100 1737 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up Rustenburg LP RSA Sept 2017r 2
  • Bases of fore wing and hindwing have complex dark brown patches, highlighted with bright yellow veins. Fore wing with deep brown dot around nodus. Wings with light yellowish amber patches around dark areas and outer region of hindwing. 100 1748 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up RNR Apr 2017r 9 Pterostigmas dark brown with cream on inside becoming dark brown with age, 2.2–2.3 mm long in fore wing, 2.8–2.9 mm long in hindwing. Light grey underneath    100 1748 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up RNR Apr 2017r 9
  • Broad flattish abdomen. Segments 1, 2 and first half of segment 3 yellow and black above, rest of segment 3 and segments 4 to 8 pruinescent light greyish blue. Segments 9 and 10 black100 1742 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Male Close up Rustenburg LP RSA Sept 2017r 15 Yellow below.

Female: 100 2052 Palpopleura jacunda Yellow veined Widow Female Mooinooi NWP RSA Dec 2015r 6

  • Yellowish brown.
  • Thorax reddish to dark brown above.100 1946 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percherr Male Old Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 5
  • Abdomen with elongated dark brown spots which form a line on sides. 100 1953 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percherr Male Old Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 13
  • Wings similar, also blotched in brown. Bases of all four wings with divided dark brown splashes and irregular oval dark brown patches just beyond nodus, all patches surrounded by amber.  100 1954 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percherr Male Old Close up Hertzogbergr MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 Pterostigmas cream on inside, dark brown on the outside.
Compared with other species:
  • Females of P. lucia 100 707 Palpopleura portia Lucia Widow Female Numu July 2015r 1  and P. portia 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 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.
  • 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 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 and Habitat:

Palpopleura jucunda Yellow veined Widow Distribution Map May 2020Very common across most of South Africa, with limited records from the dry central and western areas
Standing and often temporary waters, streams, headwaters, seeps and springs in open landscapes, but
sometimes in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent vegetation, often coarse
detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom, and probably boggy.
From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly between 800 and 1800.

Behaviour:
  • Perches and hunts from the tips of high grass stems or brush, often returning to the same perch. Females and young males often found some distance away from water. Males and females often seen together
Further reading:

Websites:
Odonata Atlas of Africa. Number 668190
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

 

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