Yellow-veined Widow Palpopleura jucunda Geelaarweetjie
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.
Click on all images to enlarge or view more
Key identification features:
- One of the smallest dragonflies in southern Africa.
- Face yellowish with frons brilliant shiny metallic blue on top.
- Thorax dark brown above, yellowish green between wing bases, sides yellowish with black lines along sutures.
- 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. 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
- 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 black Yellow below.
- Yellowish brown.
- Thorax reddish to dark brown above.
- Abdomen with elongated dark brown spots which form a line on sides.
- 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. Pterostigmas cream on inside, dark brown on the outside.
Compared with other species:
- Females of P. lucia and P. portia are most like P. portia males, 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 P. portia
- 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. .
- 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, but the male have amber patches in the area where the females have dark patch
Distribution and Habitat:
Very 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.
- 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
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