Mauve Bluet (Proischnura polychromatica)

View the above photo record (by Gregg Darling) in OdonataMAP here.

Find the Mauve Bluet in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Coenagrionidae

Proischnura polychromaticaMAUVE BLUET


Very small

Length up to 23mm; Wingspan reaches 34mm.

The adult male is highly distinctive, being bright mauve/violet and black. The black parts have a bronze-green gloss.

The female is mainly pale brown with darker markings.

Click here for more details on identification.

Proischnura polychromatica – Male
Theewaterskloof, Western Cape
Photo by Felicity Grundlingh


The natural habitat of the Mauve Bluet is transient pools in stream beds with floating vegetation and dense reeds and sedge.


A rather inconspicuous species that sits low down among dense waterside vegetation. It is usually only spotted once it flits away after being disturbed.

Most active from October to December (see Phenology below).

Status and Conservation

The Mauve Bluet is rare and highly localised. It’s habitat is threatened by the encroachment of cattle and the loss of suitable habitat. For these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has listed it as endangered.


It is endemic to a small area of the Western Cape Province in South Africa.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Mauve Bluet 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.