100 954 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 6 100 1107 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Young Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 3 100 1113 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4

Black Percher    Swartsitterrjie

Diplacodes lefebvrii (Rambur, 1842)
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Images  Mature male Young Male   Mature female  Female  Old Female
Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 1 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 2 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 4 100 892 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 4 100 2094 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 2 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Old RNR GP RSA Apr 2017
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 Short description:

Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii, Genus Diplacodes, Family Libellulidae, very small to small sized, and all black when mature When immature a yellowish side stripe on the side of the abdomen may be visible..

Key identification features:

Males: 100 954 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 6

  • Length 27 - 30 - 32mm: wingspan 46 - 49 - 54mm; Abdomen 14-18mm, Hind wing: 18-23mm.
    Note:  These measurements are important to differentiate between the Black Percher and the Dwarf Pecher D. pumila. 
  • Frons and top of head dimpled shiny black with slight purple metallic sheen. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 9  100 2694 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 4  100 2081 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 10      
  • Eyes  are a deep purplish black. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 9  100 2081 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 10
  • Thorax totally black when mature.100 2694 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 4 May have yellowish green marks before changing to dark Black/brown. Yellow with dark markings similar to female when young 100 2078 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female NWP RSA Nov 2015r 4
  • Wings clear with small amber patch at base of hindwing.  Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019
  • Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown with dark brown, black front margin and thick black veins, 3.1–3.4 mm long.Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019
  • Abdomen has white/yellow marks on lateral side, peters out on segment 8 all black.These marks disappear with age becoming dark grey/black. Superior appendages white but darkening with age becoming a brownish colour not black. Dark tips  100 2698 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 13  Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019

Females: 100 1113 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4

  • Yellowish green becoming yellowish brown with age Diplacodes lefebvrii, Black Percher, Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016  
  • Thin blackish irregular stripes on lateral thorax. 100 2095 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 5  100 893 Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016r 1 Three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina on dorsal thorax. 100 2096 Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 4  Diplacodes pumila Dwarf Percher Close up Female Swartfontein Sept 2016
  • Hindwing has a basal amber patch, larger than in the male. Diplacodes lefebvrii, Black Percher, Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 Pterostigmas light to mid greyish brown between thick dark veins.
  • Abdomen has a blackish stripe above and on sides.  Yellowish side stripe/markings stops at segment 8. Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 NOTE:s 9 black. Black on s 10 in lateral view Diplacodes lefebvrii Black Percher Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018 
  • Adult females are similar to males, but with some pale markings on the face. Sub adults are coloured with yellow and black markings on thorax and abdomen.
  • The wings of females are more pale coloured and the black area of hind wings in males is replaced by rich amber yellow.
Compared with other species:
  • Male is similar to the Dwarf Percher, D. pumila.
  • D. pumila has dark claspers. D. lefebvrii has white (young) to dark light brown claspers, very seldom black
  • D. pumila has white/yellow spot on s 9. D. lefebvrii s 9 all black.
  • Female D. pumila has uniform brown patched on dorsal thorax either side of dorsal carina. D. lefebvrii has three clear dark stripes either side of dorsal carina 

Click here for a complete comparison diagram between Black Percher, Diplacodes lefebvrii  and Dwarf Percher, D. pumila.

Distribution and habitat:
  • Found at virtually every open marsh in the African continent.
  • Found in standing and probably often temporary waters. Possibly also large lakes, in open landscapes, usually with with an abundance of tall grasses, mats of floating algae, other swamp vegetation and emergent vegetation.
  • From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly below 1600.
Behaviour:
  • It rarely flies more than a metre or two, taking-off rapidly and fly low over the water (restless). Usually perches less than half a metre from the water surface and usually on a grass stem or away from water on the ground. Young and immature males may be found well away from water
  • Females lay her eggs with rapid dipping movements on floating algae
Link to Further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=3&spp=%20669120 Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa p. 178
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 167
Dragonfly Biotic Index   p. 164
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa   p. 168
Websites of interest
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 669120
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
Warwick Tarboton.
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species        (Least Concern)
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Identification and Morphology. A complete description

Map of South Africa
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