View the above photo record (by Andries de Vries) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the Glistening Demoiselle in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Phaon iridipennis – GLISTENING DEMOISELLE
Very large. This is the largest species of damselfly in Southern Africa.
Length reaches 75mm; Wingspan attains 87mm
An unmistakable species in South Africa. Both sexes show iridescent purple-blue sparkles in the wings, if seen in the right light. Females are slightly browner and less colourful than the males.
Click here for more details on identification.
This is a species of forests and dense woodlands. Along the East coast of South Africa it occupies coastal, dune and swamp forests. Further inland it inhabits gallery forest and woodlands along savanna rivers as well as the forested verges of pans and marshes. The Glistening Demoiselle is shade dependent and is seldom seen away from cover.
Typically found low down in dense, shady undergrowth, mostly within about two meters above the ground. Frequently perches on sticks and logs among the leaf litter. The wings are folded at rest and held at a 45 degree angle while the abdomen is slightly raised. It is very cryptic when perched, but conspicuous in flight due to its iridescent wings and large size. At water it perches low down on rocks and overhanging sticks. Frequently found far from water in forest undergrowth and along pathways, particularly late in the season.
Recorded all year round in the warmer regions. Most active from October to March with a peak during late November (See Phenology below).
Status and Conservation
Phaon iridipennis is locally common. It is listed as of least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Fairly resistant to habitat degredation, including water turbidity and tolerant of at least some alien plant growth.
Widespread across tropical Africa. It extends from the Eastern Cape in the South, up through the Eastern parts of Southern Africa and throughout most of East, Central and West Africa. It also occurs on Madagascar.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Glistening Demoiselle 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.