View the above photo record (by Diana Russell) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the St. Lucia Basker in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Urothemis luciana – ST. LUCIA BASKER
Medium-large size and robust
Length attains 46mm; Wingspan reaches 84mm.
A deep red species with extensive dark amber panels at the base of the wings.
Easily confused with Urothemis assignata, but is larger and has extensive amber patches at the base of the forewings. These are much reduced or absent in Urothemis assignata. Both sexes of Urothemis luciana have 8 or 9 Ax veins in the forewing. (Urothemis assignata has 7 Ax veins in the forewing).
Click here for more details on identification of the St. Lucia Basker.
Urothemis luciana inhabits the subtropical wetlands of coastal NE KwaZulu-Natal. It is found in the vicinity of both perennial and seasonal marshes, swamps and pans. This species favours wetland/forest mosaic where trees, bushes and grassland are found in close proximity to wetlands.
The St. Lucia Basker is far more aerial than other Urothemis species and spends less time perched at the waters edge. It is most often seen on and around trees and bushes, with an abundance of long grass and water nearby. Perches conspicuously on top of trees, bushes and reeds etc. The flight is fast and powerful. It’s movements and life history are not yet fully understood.
Status and Conservation
Urothemis luciana is an uncommon to rare species with an erratic occurence. This species is not present at the same sites every year and appears to vanish during prolonged dry years, only to re-appear again after good rains. It is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A significant portion of its South African range is protected within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The St. Lucia Basker is not known to occur at artificial habitats and is sensitive to habitat degredation.
Urothemis luciana is endemic to north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique. It occurs as far South as Richards Bay.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for St Lucia Basker in the OdonataMAP database as at February 2020.
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.
Virtual Museum (OdonataMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)
More common names: St. Lucia-sonvangertjie (Afrikaans)
Type Locality: Natal, South Africa.
Recommended citation format: Loftie Eaton. M; Hofmeyr S; Tippett RM; Underhill L – St. Lucia Basker Urothemis luciana. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available online at http://thebdi.org/2020/02/25/st-lucia-basker-urothemis-luciana/