Conspicuous Malachite (Chlorolestes conspicuus)

Chlorolestes conspicuus, the Conspicuous Malachite or Reusemalagiet (Afrikaans) is a species of damselfly in the family Synlestidae. It is endemic to south-western South Africa. This species is found near rivers and streams in both open and wooded valleys. The largest species in its genus, it is 59–65 mm long with a wingspan of 64–72 mm. Males and females are similar; the thorax and abdomen are metallic-green aging to coppery brown.

Link to the OdonataMAP record which contains the above photograph (by Gregg Darling) of a Conspicuous Malachite. The map below shows the distribution of records for Chlorolestes conspicuus in the OdonataMAP database, as at January 2020.

Use this link to embed the above map of distribution records in OdonataMAP: http://thebdi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/660070-Conspicuous-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

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

The next two graphs shows how the occurrence of Conspicuous Malachites varies within the year, i.e. the phenology. There are 82 records in the database for this species, so these results can be treated as moderately reliable. 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 nine, in April. 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.

This phenology plot suggests that the main flight period of the Conspicuous Malachite is in late summer, with a peak at the end of March/beginning of April. There appears to be a steady build-up to this peak of abundance, starting in December. There is a fairly rapid decrease in abundance from late-April. This species is unusual for a winter-rainfall region endemic to have records in every month of the year except one (September). There are single records in May, June, August and October and four in July. A lot more OdonataMAP records for the Conspicuous Malachite are needed to confirm (or disprove) the patterns shown in this plot.

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.