Amatola Malachite (Chlorolestes apricans)

The Amatola Malachite Chlorolestes apricans is a species of damselfly in the family Synlestidae. This damselfly is endemic to South Africa where it has a restricted range in the Eastern Cape Province. Chlorolestes apricans is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Link to the OdonataMAP record which contains the above photograph (by Stewart MacLachlan) of an Amatola Malachite. The map below shows the distribution of records for Anax imperator in the OdonataMAP database, as at January 2020.

Use this link to embed this map of distribution records in OdonataMAP: http://thebdi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/660060-Amatola-Malachite-actual-records-1.png

The following map below is an imputed map, produced by an interpolation algorithm, which attempts to generate a full distribution map from the partial information in the map above. This map will be improved by the submission of records to the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum

Use this link to embed this imputed distribution map: http://thebdi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/660060-Amatola-Malachite-inner-core-outer-core-and-periphery.png

The next map below is an imputed map, produced by an interpolation algorithm, which attempts to generate a full distribution map from the partial information in the map above. This map will be improved by the submission of records to the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum.

The map below shows the imputed distribution which has been adjusted for terrain roughness

Ultimately, we will produce a series of maps for all the odonata species in the region. The current algorithm is a new algorithm. The objective is mainly to produce “smoothed” maps that could go into a field guide for odonata. This basic version of the algorithm (as mapped above) does not make use of “explanatory variables” (e.g. altitude, terrain roughness, presence of freshwater — we will be producing maps that take these variables into account soon). Currently, it only makes use of the OdonataMAP records for the species being mapped, as well as all the other records of all other species. The basic maps are “optimistic” and will generally show ranges to be larger than what they probably are.

These maps use the data in the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum, and also the database assembled by the previous JRS funded project, which was led by Professor Michael Samways and Dr KD Dijkstra.

The next two graphs shows how the occurrence of Amatola Malachites varies within the year, i.e. the phenology. There are only 28 records in the database for this species, so these results need to be treated as tentative. The first plot shows the number of records in each pentade, five-day periods, which start on 1 July and end on 30 June the following year. The maximum number of records in a pentade is four, in early January. The blue line is generated by a smoother, an algorithm which aims to separate the “signal” from the “noise”, and shows the pattern of seasonality for this species. The second plot shows only the blue line, and it is scaled to lie between zero and one, for easy comparison between species.

Tentatively (because the sample size is only 28), this phenology plot shows that the earliest Amatola Malachites in flight can be anticipated in October, and the last ones in April. Most records are anticipated to be from November to March, and the peak of the flight period appears to be in Mid-December. The peak appears to be quite sharp, but this might be a consequence of the small sample size.

To improve the quality of the phenology, please start fieldwork for this species in October, and continue to April, and submit records of Amatola Malachites to OdonataMAP throughout this period. The ideal would be to have a record from each five-day period in which they are seen and photographed.

Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Megan Loftie-Eaton is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. Sally Hofmeyr has many years' experience in the academic world, writing her own material and editing the work of others. Her academic background is in the natural sciences: her PhD and first postdoc in ornithology and environmental change (Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town). Ryan Tippett is an enthusiastic contributor to Citizen Science and has added many important and interesting records of fauna and flora. He has been a member of the VMU since 2014 and has currently submitted over 11000 records. He is also on the expert identification panel for the Odonata Map project. Prof Les Underhill has been Director of the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town since it started in 1991. Although citizen science in biology is Les’s passion, his academic background is in mathematical statistics.