Year of the Dragon – OdonataMAP records of note for 2018 – PART THREE

Blue Basker

John Wilkinson, one of the most hard working members on the OdonataMAP expert panel, has put together a terrific summary of the best OdonataMAP records for 2018 for each province of South Africa. It was a year that delivered many interesting and spectacular damselfly and dragonfly records. The records mentioned in part three of the below report are records that are either range extensions, new records of species that haven’t been recorded for several years, or new species for a province or for South Africa. Part one of the report is available here, followed by part two which can be viewed here

North West

North West Province

For the North West Province, there were eight species that were recorded only once during 2018, with the Clubbed Talontail Crenigomphus hartmanni being a first for the province

  • A Black Emperor Anax tristis was mapped by Lance Robinson on 07 November 2018 at Sediba Game Lodge near Brits (2527BC). It is the first ever record for the North West Province!
  • Dawie and Sarieta Kleynhans snapped and mapped a Sailing Bluet Azuragrion nigridorsum at Dikhololo Resort near Brits on 29 April 2018 VM. It was the second Virtual Museum record for the North West.
Sailing Bluet – photo by John Wilkinson
  • OdonataMAP record 44494 of a Common Thorntail Ceratogomphus pictus was the fifth Virtual Museum record for the province. It was mapped by Jaco Botes on 28 January 2018.
  • On the fourth of February 2018, Lance Robinson mapped a Horned Rockdweller Bradinopyga cornuta at Dikhololo near Brits. This was the third ever record for the North West!
  • A Portia Widow Palpopleura portia OdonataMAPped by Graham Barr on 24April 2018 was the only record for the North West for the year. He photographed this awesome dragonfly near Groot Marico (2526CB).
  • Jaco Botes recorded a Highland Dropwing Trithemis dorsalis, the fifth Virtual Museum record for the province, on 28 January 2018 at Boskopdam near Potchefstroom.
  • OdonataMAP record 46171 of a Ringed Cascader Zygonyx torridus was the second ever record for the North West. Niall Perrins snapped and mapped it on 18 February 2018 in Borakalalo National Park.
  • Niall Perrins OdonataMAPped a Clubbed Talontail Crenigomphus hartmanni, the first ever record for the province, on 19 February 2018 in Borakalalo National Park (2527BB).
Clubbed Talontail – photo by Niall Perrins

Northern Cape

Northern Cape Province

For the Northern Cape, five species were recorded only once during 2018 with one being recorded for the first time. All these records were submitted by none other than Altha Liebenberg

  • Altha recorded the third Northern Cape record of a Clubbed Talontail Crenigomphus hartmanni (photo below) on 04 January 2018. She OdonataMAPped it on the Vaal River near Douglas.
Clubbed Talontail – photo by Altha Liebenberg
  • A Phantom Flutterer Rhyothemis semihyalina was snapped and mapped on 04 January 2018 near Smitsdrif, this was the second record ever for the Northern Cape.
  • Altha recorded a Red Basker Urothemis assignata  on 26 December 2018 near Douglas (2923BB). This was the second record ever for the Northern Cape, with the only other record mapped in Hartswater in December 2017 by Dawie and Sarieta Kleynhans.
  • OdonataMAP record 62870 of a Blue Basker Urothemis edwardsii, was the third record for the Northern Cape, mapped on the banks of the Vaal River in Douglas on 26 December 2018.
  • Altha also mapped a Ferruginous Glider Tramea limbata, the very first record for the province, on 04 January 2018 in the Smitsdrif district (2824CA).
Ferruginous Glider – photo by Sharon Stanton

Western Cape

Western Cape Province

In the Western Cape, six species were recorded only once during 2018 with a Cherry-eye Sprite Pseudagrion sublacteum recorded for the first time. A Red Basker Urothemis assignata was recorded for the first time as well, with a number of records found thereafter

  • Andrew and Heather Hodgson recorded an Elusive Skimmer Orthetrum rubens in the Cederberg Wilderness Area near Citrusdal on 15 December 2018 (3219AC). It was the first Virtual Museum record and the first record since December 2015 for the Western Cape.
Elusive Skimmer – photo by Andrew & Heather Hodgson
  • Jean Hirons mapped a Dancing Jewel Platycypha caligata, the second Virtual Museum record and the first record since 2011 for the Western Cape, on 12 March 2018 at the Keurbooms River near Kammanassie Nature Reserve (3323CC).
  • OdonataMAP record 46263 of a Mahogany Presba Syncordulia venator was mapped by Andre Marais on 22 February 2018 at Jubilee Creek in Knysna (3322DD). It was the only record for the year for the Western Cape.
  • Amanda Walden snapped and mapped a Darting Cruiser Phyllomacromia picta in the Saasveld Forest near George on 20 December 2018. It was the third record for the province and the first record since 2009!
  • OdonataMAP record 48386 of a Black-splashed Elf Tetrathemis polleni was the first Virtual Museum record and the second ever record for the Western Cape. Jean Hirons recorded it on 01 April 2018 at the Hoogekraal River crossing in Sedgefield (3322DD).
Black-splashed Elf – photo by Desire Darling
  • Jean Hirons mapped a Red Basker Urothemis assignata on 06 February 2018, the first Virtual Museum record for the province, at the Karatara River crossing near Sedgefield (3322DD).
  • A Cherry-eye Sprite Pseudagrion sublacteum recorded by Pieter Le Grange on 04 May 2018 was the first ever record for the Western Cape! He mapped it in Nature’s Valley (3323DC).

John Wilkinson’s pick for 2018 RECORD OF THE YEAR is the Mastigogomphus exuviae found by Gerhard Diedericks. Mastigogomphus is a genus in the family Gomphidae and is represented by 3 species in Africa:

  1. M. chapini from Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.
  2. M. pinheyi from Kenya
  3. M. dissimilis from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe

The exuviae that Gerhard found is most likely that of M. dissimilis or it might even be a species new to science! Credit for information on Mastigogomphus: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2019-01-20].

Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. She also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. Megan is passionate about biodiversity conservation. She is a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation.