Trithemis kirbyi

Common Name:
Orange-winged Dropwing, Kirby's Dropwing, Rock Dropwing
T. kirbyi
Species Description
Trithemis kirbyi (Selys, 1891), the Orange-winged Dropwing, is a species of dragonfly in family Libellulidae. It is found in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly Burundi. It is also present in southern Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean Islands and South Asia - India. It is also known as the Kirby's Dropwing.

Trithemis kirbyi is relatively small (similar in size to its commoner sister species T. annulata), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in speed and feistiness. The males are virtually all red, except for the odd black line here and there, the black pterostigma, the blue-grey lower half of the eye, and the very large orange wing patches. The female too sports such a wing patch (but its size is more variable than in males) and her base colour is yellow, as it is in immature males. The adult male's favourite perch seems to be a sun-exposed rock in a sluggish river (or failing that, right on the river's edge) from which he overlooks his territory, defends it against intruders, and waits for females to visit the water. If a male manages to grab a visiting female (in mid-air), he will provide the necessary in-flight service and after barely five seconds the copula will break up again. She will then lay her eggs, in typical Trithemis fashion, by dipping her abdomen repeatedly into the water and releasing a number of eggs at each dip while the male will stay in close attendance, flying very fast and furiously around her to fend off any competing males.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, rivers, and inland karsts.

Trithemis kirbyi is widespread over much of Africa. It occurs well into the Middle East, parts of Asia and on many islands in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, it is assessed as Least Concern by IUCN Red List, in view of its wide distribution, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. 


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