Suave Citril (Ceriagrion suave)

View the above photo record (by Gary Brown) in OdonataMAP here.

Find the Suave Citril in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Coenagrionidae

Ceriagrion suaveSUAVE CITRIL


Small size

Length up to 41mm; Wingspan reaches 48mm.

Closely resembles Ceriagrion glabrum (Common Citril). The Suave Citril is best told apart by lacking the small teeth on the hind margin of segment 10 and by its distinctive clasper shape. In Ceriagrion suave the upper and lower claspers are of equal length. In Ceriagrion glabrum the lower clasper extends out beyond the upper clasper.

Colouration is not a reliable means of identification due to variability relating to age.

Females are similar to the males but are duller and slightly more robust.

Click here for more details on identification.

Ceriagrion suave – Male
Marloth Park, Mpumalanga
Photo by Juan-Pierre Antunes


Its natural habitats are pans, pools and streams in subtropical or tropical savanna and shrubland. Favours shallowly flooded habitats and sites with rich emergent sedge and grasses.


Perches on grass and sedge stems over shallow water. Inconspicuous despite the bright colouration.

On the wing from September to April (see Phenology below).

Status and Conservation

In South Africa Ceriagrion suave is uncommon to rare and erratic in its occurence. Listed globally as of Least Concern, but in South Africa it is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the wetter regions. The range in South Africa is marginal and is only recorded from a few locations in the extreme North-East from Pafuri in the Northern Kruger National Park to Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Suave Citril 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.