100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 101 525 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Tshipise LP RSA December 2012 Keyhole Glider

Keyhole Glider.      Loerswerwe.

Tramea basilaris (Palisot de Beauvois, 1817)

Also known as Red Marsh Trotter, Wheeling Glider

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Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Close up RNR GP RSA Dec 2017 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Female Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018
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Short description:

Tramea basilaris, Keyhole Glider. Genus Tramea, Family Libellulidae, fairly large sized with a tapered abdomen, orange red and brown, with black abdominal tip. Hind wings have jiggered, dark red, basil patches with amber halo.

Key identification features:

Male:   100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1

  • Face is reddish to light and dark brown. Post frons red. Postclypeus reddish. Anticlupeus white above brown below. Labrum brown becoming dark brown/black towards the lower margin  100 2037 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018r 11
  • Eyes are dark red above and greyish with dark mottles below 
  • Thorax is brown above with greenish brownish patches on brownish to greenish grey. Lower thorax  and segments 1 - 3, including male secondary genitalia, covered with fine white hair 100 2509 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018r 5
  • Wings are elongated, with large jiggered, dark red, basil patches with amber halo on the hindwing  100 2508 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 30
  • Pterostigmas are yellowish brown with the ones on the forewing  the longer (3mm - 2mm)  100 2510 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Male Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018r 27
  • Segment 1 dark brown, s 2 to 7 light red. S 8 with triangular black patch above, s 9 - 10 black above. Segments 8 - 10 with fine cream lines along hind margins
  • Superior appendages long, dark brown with slight base with slight outward curve  100 2505 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 22

Female:  101 531 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Female Tshipise RSA December 2015

  • Similar in body patterning but yellowish brown instead of reddish 100 2514 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Female Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018r 20
  • Thorax covered with fine white hair100 1669 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Female Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018r 7
  • Wing patches similar but brown rather than dark red.  Extent of the two lobes varies from female to female and with age. The lobe may be wide open or closed to form the keyhole
  • Long dark brown claspers, that points slightly outwards in the male100 2517 Zygonyx natalensis Blue Cascader Female Close up1 Aliocedale LP RSA Dec 2018r 13
  • Superior appendages long, dark brown with light base with slight outward curve  100 2514 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Female Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018r 20
Compared with other species:
  • Ferruginous Glider, T. limbata, has elongated dark shaped markings in the hindwing
  • In flight, the patterns on the hindwings are diagnostic on both species
  • Similar to the Blue Basker, U. edwardsii, but different in colour. 100 666 Urothemis edwardsii Blue Basker Marlothpark April 2015 r 5
  • Can be mistaken for the Gliders (Keyhole and Ferruginous), Tramea basilaris 100 1669 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 12 and Tramea limbata.100 1142 Trame limbata Ferruginous Glider Hluhluwe KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2 The Red Basker has bigger patches than the Ferruginous Glider and the Keyhole Glider has keyhole shaped patches.
  • There are several red coloured species that needs close inspection to identify correctly.
    • Aethriamanta rezia, Pygmy Basker: 118 500 1Aethriamanta rezia Enseleni 2 1  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:  100 670 Urothemis assignata Red Basker Male Kozibay KZN RSA MCH 2018r 2 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: 118 503 Macrodiplax cora Coastal Penant Male Kosi Bay KZN Apr 2016r 1  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, 100 1666 Tramea basilaris Keyhole Glider Male Loskopdam MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 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, Ferruginous Glider,  100 1142 Trame limbata Ferruginous Glider Hluhluwe KZN RSA Mch 2017r 2 Hindwing patches distinctive elongated, narrow shaped dark panels close to basel edge of the wing that may appear black in flight.  long brown claspers
    • Tholymis tillarga, Twister. 100 626 Tholymis tillarga Twister Male Tshipise LP RSA MCH 2016r 4  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:
  • Flies in warm, humid areas. Found in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga KZN. Some present in the Western Cape
  • Breeds in standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes, but sometimes shaded by gallery forest. Often with coarse detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom
  • From 0 to 1800 m above sea level
Behaviour:
  • Males fly between bushes and trees continuously for long periods. They range from close to water to quite a distance away from the breeding waters. Male will hold female, fly down to the water and monetarily release her while she plash the eggs onto the water in a forward motion. Male grabs female as soon as oviposit is completed and flies of to another position to oviposit again
Further reading and other information:
Distribution Map
Books:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.200
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 208
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa … P 197

Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 200
Websites:
Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 668620
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa

 

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