The photo above (by Luelle Watts) can be viewed in OdonataMAP here.
Find this species in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Palpopleura portia – PORTIA WIDOW
Length up to 31mm; Wingspan attains 47mm.
Both sexes most resemble Palpopleura lucia (Lucia Widow). Males are readily differentiated from that species by having a pale pruinose blue upper thorax. In addition males show significantly less black in the wings.
Telling the females of the two species apart is more difficult. Those of Palpopleura portia generally show less black in the wings and lack the smoky shadow area in the lower part of the hind wings.
Click here for more details on identification.
Palpopleura portia Occupies a wide range of habitats, but prefers still water habitats over flowing waters. Most common at the grass and sedge fringes of lakes, ponds, pans and marshes. Less frequent at rivers and streams, where it prefers the slower moving stretches and quiet back waters. Sometimes found at man-made habitats like dams and ponds. Largely restricted to hot and humid savanna regions.
Portia Widows are perch hunters and spend as much time perched as they do darting off to intercept prey, or to chase off a rival. They like to sit in open, sunny positions, typically with the wings drooped forward in the ‘dropwing’ style.
On the wing from October to May, but flies year-round in some warmer areas.
Status and Conservation
Fairly common. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A fairly adaptable species that does make use of degraded or man-made habitats.
Widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and absent only from the driest regions of North-East Africa and the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Portia Widow 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.