Brachythemis lacustris

Common Name:
Red Groundling
B. lacustris
Species Description
Brachythemis is a genus of dragonfly in family Libellulidae. They are commonly known as Groundlings. The genus contains 6 species:
         Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793) - Ditch Jewel
         Brachythemis fuscopalliata (Selys, 1887) - Dark-winged Groundling
         Brachythemis impartita (Karsch, 1890) - Northern Banded Groundling 
         Brachythemis lacustris (Kirby, 1889) - Red Groundling
         Brachythemis leucosticta (Burmeister, 1839) - Banded Groundling 
         Brachythemis wilsoni (Pinhey, 1952) - Wilson's Groundling 

Brachythemis lacustris (Kirby, 1889) is a small, bright red dragonfly with large orange splashes on the wings. The species is widespread in tropical sub-Saharan Africa, except from rainforest areas. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly Burundi. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, rivers, and intermittent rivers.

At body length 31.5-32.5 mm, hindwing span 22-22.5 mm, the male has all brownish red face and vertex. Frons and vertex dimpled. Eyes blood red above and pink below. Synthorax bright red. Wings transperant with large, bright orange splashes, almost reaching nodus. Pterostigmas short, 2.1-2.2 mm long, yellowish brown on inner two-thirds, becoming darker, reddish on outer third. Abdomen swollen at base. S1 to S4 all bright red with no dark or black markings. Female is all yellowish and light brown with few distinctive markings and a less tapering and more bulbous abdomen. Wings completely clear, with no orange markings.

This species is very gregarious, often with several individuals of both sexes perching along same grass stem at water edge.

Brachythemis lacustris maybe easily confused with Trithemis kirbyi, although T. kirbyi is more orange red, and perches mostly on rocks, rarely on grasses like B. lacustris. Also T. kirbyi is not so distinctively gregarious as B. lacustris. T. kirbyi has red veins in region of nodus, whereas they are black in B. lacustris. Also, the orange on wings is less intense and is broken in places in T. kirbyi, whereas it is continuously intense in B. lacustris.

This is a widespread species with no known major widespread threats and that is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened category. Therefore it is assessed by IUCN Red List as Least Concern. 

Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa

The Species on Stamps



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