Rock Scarlet (Crocothemis divisa)

View the above photograph (by Bertie Brink) in OdonataMAP here.

Find this species in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Libellulidae

Crocothemis divisa ROCK SCARLET


Small Size

Length up to 39mm; Wingspan attains 68mm.

Most similar to Crocothemis sanguinolenta (Little Scarlet). The Rock Scarlet can be told apart by lacking any amber in the wings, by its very long, red pterostigmas and by the plain brownish thorax with a red wash on top. The habitat choice of Crocothemis divisa is also diagnostic.

Click here for more details on identification.

Crocothemis divisa – Male
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
Photo by Walter Jubber


Its natural habitats include rocky pools and streams in woodlands, flanked by large rock outcroppings.


Usually perches on the top and sides of rocks and boulders.

Recorded in South Africa from September to June.

Status and Distribution

Rare and erratic in South Africa. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


It is a widespread through much of tropical Sub-Saharan Africa and also occurs on Madagascar.

In South Africa it is only known from a handful of sites on the Waterberg plateau in Limpopo and along the Blyde River in the boundary region between Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Rock Scarlet 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.

Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Ryan Tippett, Rene Navarro & Les Underhill
Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Ryan Tippett, Rene Navarro & Les Underhill
Megan Loftie-Eaton is our communications, social media and citizen science projects coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. 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 OdonataMAP project. Rene Navarro is the genius behind the Virtual Museum. 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.