|Chlorolestes elegans (Pinhey, 1950),
the Elegant Malachite, is a species of damselfly in family Synlestidae.
This is a large to very large damselfly, with body length 60-61mm, hindwing
length 31.5-32mm, color dark metallic green and brown, usually with clear
wings but sometimes banded.
The face is dark metallic green with
pale yellow genae, head all dark metallic green above. Eyes are greenish
black above, greyish black below. Synthorax is metallic green above, bordered
each side with dark yellow stripe. Side of synthorax striped dull metallic
green and yellow. Below the yellow stripe is a greenish balck, wedge-shaped
patch which blends into greyish straw underside. Synthorax underneath like
frowning human mask, with three very clear dark brown marks in a triangle.
Wings in almost males are clear, althrough some with black and white banding.
Pterostgmas mostly blackish-brown, with only a little lighter brown in
outer parts in some individuals. Abdomen is dull metallic green with fuzzy-edged
yellow rings at start of each segment, S9-S10 pruinescent greyish blue.
Female is si,iliar to male, but no or very little pruinescence on S9-10.
The species are mostly at rest with
wings outstretched, hanging from teigs in sunflecks in forest. When in
shade, very well camouflaged. Perferred habitat are shallow, montane streams
with riffles and glides in forest. Flight period from late November to
The species has been recorded from
north South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi (Mt Mulanje), northern Mozambique.
It is a southern African endemic. Its natural habitats are subtropical
or tropical moist montanes and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.
IUCN Red List Category & Criteria
as Near Threatened, in view of its restricted area (extent of occurrence
approximately 5,000 km2), habitat requirements (montane mountain streams)
and localized distribution (e.g., Samways 1999). Threats include commercial
forestry, some invasive trees (especially acacias), introduced fish species
(trout), habitat loss, and siltation of streams in montane areas (Samways
pers. comm.). i.e. loss of native trees and reafforestation with introduce
This very large species has metallic
green occiput and labrum, which are yellow and black respectively in Chlorolestes
conspicuus. C. elegans is like a large, clear-winged C. tessellatus. Apart
from its large size and the mask marking under the thorax of C. elegans,
no color features clearly separate these two species, meaning that margin
of S10 and appendages must be compared. For female, length is 6-7 mm greater
(60-61 mm) in C. elegans than C. fasciatus and C. tessellatus, both of
which can occur in the same locality.
Dragonflies and Demsleflies of
South Africa, Michael J. Samways