Rhyothemis variegata

Common Name:
Variegated Flutterer, Common Picture Wing
R. variegata
Species Description
Rhyothemis variegata (Linnaeus, 1763), known as the Common Picture Wing or Variegated Flutterer, is a species of dragonfly of the family Libellulidae, found in South Asia. They appear to have weak flight and can easily be mistaken for butterflies. Besides the nominate subspecies, two other subspecies are recognised, R. v. arria from China and Vietnam, and R. v. imperatrix from Japan.

This species is a medium sized dragonfly with butterfly like yellow and brown wings. The male is sized in abdomen 23-25mm, hind wing: 33-36mm; Female is sized in abdomen 20-22mm, hind wing 28-37mm.

The male is frons iridescent green. Eyes are dark reddish brown above. Thorax is Iridescent green. Legs are black. The forewing is transparent and golden yellow, the wing tip, leading edge and centre of the wing are marked with deep coffee brown spots. The hindwing also has similar spots; however the central spot is absent. More over, the wing base is marked with an irregular brown patch. The trailing edge of the hindwing has a characteristic "W" shaped coffee brown mark. The wing spot is black. Abdomen is black. 

For female, the tips of the forewings is transparent. A dark brown opaque area extends to the centre of fore wing. This area borders a bright yellow hockey stick shaped patch. In hindwings the brown opaque area is more extensive and reaches upto the wing tip, which encloses a long yellow central patch and a small yellow spot towards the wing tip. This patch also borders yellow spots of wing margins. Wing spot is black. Abdomen is bluish black. 

It breeds in a range of open and disturbed habitats, like marshes, paddy fields and ponds. This species is easily mistaken for a butterfly. It is a weak flier and frequently perches on aquatic weeds. This dragonfly is rarely seen away from water. 

This is a common widespread species in much of south and southeast Asia, widely distributed from India to Japan. IUCN Red List accessed as Least Concern. 


The Species on Stamps
Viet Nam
China Taiwan



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