View the above photo record (by Basil Boer) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the Masai Sprite in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Pseudagrion massaicum – MASAI SPRITE
Length up to 38mm; Wingspan reaches 45mm
Similar to the other ‘red’ sprites, but most resembles Pseudagrion sjoestedti and Pseudagrion vaalense.
Males are characterised by their largely red head and thorax, including red postocular spots. The lower thorax is pale pruinose blue, while the dark abdomen ends with bright blue terminal segments.
Females are best recognised by their association with the males.
Click here for more details on identification.
This species is found mostly at still-water habitats such as pans, dams, ponds, lakes and slow flowing parts of rivers and streams. Masai Sprites prefer well vegetated parts of water bodies, however they can also be found at dams with bare gravelly or sandy banks provided there is at least some aquatic vegetation.
Perches on waterlilies and other emergent plants and twigs close to the water surface. Sometimes sits on rocks or exposed sand at the waters edge. Flies low over the water. Females can be found near the males, but are frequently found away from the water in the surrounding bushes or woodlands.
Recorded throughout the year at some sites, but most active from September to April. See Phenology below.
Conservation and Status
Pseudagrion massaicum is listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is an abundant and widespread species that has largely benefited from making use of man-made impoundments. It can be found in somewhat degraded habitats, including sewage treatment ponds and areas with alien plants.
The Masai Sprite is widespread across sub-Saharan Africa. Recorded from all provinces in South Africa. Likely to occur almost anywhere but less numerous in arid regions.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Masai Sprite 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.
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.