100 919 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male Mystic Monkeys Jan 2017r 2 101 600 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Young Male Tshipise LP RSA Sep 2012 119 516 Orange winged dropwing female I5A7343

Orange-winged Dropwing.      Oranjevalvlerkie.

Also known as Rock Dropwing, Kirby's Dropwing

Trithemis pluvialis Förster, 1906
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100 919 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male Mystic Monkeys Jan 2017r 2 100 620 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 2 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019 100 2047 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Female Rust De Winter GP RSA Nov 2016r 1
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Guides:
Short description:

Orange-winged Dropwing, Trithemis kirbyi, Genus Trithemis, Family Libellulidae, small to medium sized, bright orangey red dragonfly, with diagnostic large orange splashes on all wings.

Key identification features:

Males:

  • Face bright light red. Labium yellow brown, unmarked. Labrum, anteclypeus, postclypeus and entire frons bright light red. Frons has two prominent peaks visible in both male and female.. Top of head brownish red with high peaks. 100 623 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 15 
  • Eyes bright red above, darker below becoming grayish at the lower margin 100 623 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 15
  • Thorax bright red above, deep red on sides with browner areas and short black wavy lines Lighter creamy brown stipe in middle of thorax . Legs mostly orange100 624 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 5 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017 100 622 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 6 
  • Wings with red veins, large orange splashes present covering about a third of length of all four wings. Pterostigmas bright reddish brown with orange outer margins, paler on underside, short (2 mm).Trithemis kirbyi Orange-winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017
  • Abdomen bright orange red, with fine, black dashes on upper surface of s 8. Large black mark on s 9 and narrow black band on s 10. S 10 very narrow.100 2054 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 7 When young short yellow stripes visible on dorsal and lateral abdomen when young.Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017 

Females: Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019

  • Very inconspicuous, yellowish to greenish brown  Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019
  • Thorax faint dark brown stripes with light brownish white mark in center.Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019
  • Like male, has prominent peaks on frons, and especially vertex. Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019
  • Hindwing with faint, spotty basal, amber patch. Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019
  • Broad abdomen with black stripes and yellow markings Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019 100 2734 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Mabusa LP RSA May 2019r 27
Compared with other species:
  • Colouring very diagnostic 100 620 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 2 with the large orange wing splashes Trithemis kirbyi Orange-winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017 distinguish it from other Trithemis species.
  • This is an easily recognizable species due to the large orange splashes in both front and hind wings. These splashes ends about halfway from the thorax to the nodus (about one third lenght of wing)
  • Similar to Brachythemis lacustris, Red Groundling, Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018 that can occur in the same area.
  • The two are separated on abdominal shape, which has a bulbous base in B. lacustris but more slender in T. kirbyi. 100 2054 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 7 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017
  • The pterostigmas of B. lacustris, are bi-coloured light on the inside and dark on the outside Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018, whereas they are all brownish in T. kirbyi. Trithemis kirbyi Orange-winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017
  • The orange splashes in B. lacustris are more evenly spread Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018, with no clear spaces as in T. kirbyi.Trithemis kirbyi Orange-winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017 The orange patch on the hind wing of T.Kirbyi does not reach the nodus but on B. lacustris it does reach the nodus.
  • Tip of abdomen in B. lacustris does not have the small black dashes as does T. kirbyi. 100 2054 Trithemis kirbyi Orange winged Dropwing Male RNR GP RSA Apr 2017r 7 
  • B. lacustris has 7.5 to 8.5 Ax veins Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018 but T. kirbyi has more the 8.5 Ax veins. Brachythemis lacustris Red Groundling Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018
  • Females can be mistaken for several Trithemis species as well as female B. lacustris
Distribution and habitat:
  • Common in South Africa.
  • Frequents standing and often temporary waters, rivers, streams and large lakes in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest. Often with bare banks, rocks and a hard (rocky) and/or soft (muddy) bottom, pools in stream beds.
  • From 0 to 2600 m above sea level, but mostly below 1700. Often seen at man made water structures.
Behaviour:
  • Hunts from exposed rocks and solid structures near water.
  • Often lowers body to gather the heat of the structure it is sitting on.
  • When water levels drop and when conditions are very hot, male may perch on twigs over drying-out pools.
  • Female rarely seen (look for them on warm flat structures near the water), but darts over a river pool to cast its eggs, and rapidly escorted by male.
Link to further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=%20669120
Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p 186
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p 188
Dragonfly Biotic Index   p 184
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Namibia   
p. 239
Websites:
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species      Least concern*
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 669120
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a Dragonfly,  Damselfly
Map of South Africa

Credit for discription to Machael J Samways.

 

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