St Lucia Basker St Lucia-sonvangertjie
Urothemis luciana Balinsky, 1961
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Key identification features:
- All deep red.
- Face and top of head deep brownish red.
- Eyes deep red, almost blackish.
- Thorax deep red with no distinctive markings
- Wings with jaggered, reddish brown hindwing patch. Forewing with amber streaks. 8 - 9 Ax veins
- Pterostigmas 4.2 mm, buff between thick blackish brown veins.
- Abdomen bright deep red, segment 1 blackish above, segments 8 and 9 with blackish smudge running along their tops.
- Appendages red
- Legs black
- Similar to male
- Wing markings, orange and brown rather than red.
Compared with other species:
There are several red coloured species that needs close inspection to identify correctly.
- Aethriamanta rezia, Pygmy Basker: Very small. Eyes brown with red cap on top, mottled grey below. Thorax with black shoulder stripe. Legs black. Wings all with small dark brown flares at the base, hindwings with additional small patch just behind flares, flares are surrounded by amber halo. 6 Ax veins. Pterostigmas reddish brown 2mm. Abdomen wide, bright red with regular black ladder running along entire top. Segment 1 blackish. Superior appendages red.
- Urothemis assignata, Red Basker: Stout, bright red. Eyes deep red above, mottled dark and light grey below. Legs light red. Hindwings have large dark red angular basal patches with amber hallow. Forewing has small traces of amber at the base. Wing veins red. Pterostigma yellow brown 4mm. Last Ax vein complete. Abdomen segments 5 -9 have black above with median ladder-like stripe of uneven width, widest on s 8 - 9. Appendages of moderate length, red.
- Macrodiplax cora. Coastal Pennant: Wings clear, except for small amber patch at base of hindwings. Abdomen bright red with along top strongly contrasting black hour glass shaped stripe of varying width, broken at each segmental joint.
- Tramea basilaris, Keyhole Glider, Hindwing patches distinctive keyhole shaped. Thorax dull orange above dark brownish grey with dark brown areas along the side. Abdomen segment 8 triangular shaped mark, S 9 -10 black above. Superior appendages long, dark brown with light base.
- Tramea limbata, Ferrugginous Glider, Hindwing patches distinctive elongated, narrow shaped dark panels close to basel adge of the wing that may appear black in flight. long brown claspers
- Tholymis tillarga, Twister. Hindwings with dark brown patch just inside nodus in front half, with white patch outside of it and diffuse amber area inside it. Forewings with diffuse amber area at bases of wings. Abdomen tapered, light red. Appendages long, red, black at tips.
Distribution and habitat:
Rare and only known from coastal northern KwaZulu-Natal. It has also been recorded from southern Mozambique.
It occurs in open, humid, coastal forest and bush.
It is a powerful flyer as it wheels above bushes and between trees and only settles on the tops of bushes on cool and overcast days.
Links to Further Reading: