Acacia Sprite (Pseudagrion acaciae)

View the above photo record (by John Wilkinson) in OdonataMAP here.

Find the Acacia Sprite in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Coenagrionidae

Pseudagrion acaciaeACACIA SPRITE


Small size

Length up to 38mm; Wingspan attains 48mm.

Pseudagrion acaciae is one of a handful of ‘Reddish’ sprites found in the region. As with most other sprites, the colouration can be variable, and they tend to darken with age.

Males most resemble those of Pseudagrion vaalense and younger males of Pseudagrion sublacteum.

Similar to Pseudagrion vaalense in that both species have greenish postocular spots, orange-red faces and eyes and pale blue-green lower thorax sides. In Pseudagrion acaciae the thorax sides tend to be more green than blue and the pruinose blue markings on the end of the abdomen show distinct, incomplete black rings. There is also minimal overlap in the distribution of the two species.

Distribution overlaps widely with that of Pseudagrion sublacteum. In comparison, Pseudagrion sublacteum shows purplish postocular spots and upper thorax, bluer lower thorax sides and a bright cherry-red face and eyes.

Click here for more details on identification.

Pseudagrion acaciae – Male
Mkuze River, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Frequents flowing rivers in hot, low altitude savanna areas. Prefers sites with shallow, rocky sections with sand and varied riverside vegetation, especially grass and woodlands. Most numerous along larger rivers.

Habitat – Mkuze River, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Males sit close to the water on a rock, sandbar or suitable reed or grass stem. The flight is fast and low over the water. Often returns to the same perch after each foray to catch food or to chase off a rival. Females are seldom encountered.

Recorded throughout the year at some sites. Most active from September to April (see Phenology below).

Status and Conservation

Fairly common and localised. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As a riverine species it does not make much use of man-made habitats. Restricted to undamaged savanna rivers.


The Acacia Sprite ranges from East Africa down to South Africa. The South African distribution is centered upon the larger east-flowing rivers from central KwaZulu-Natal to Limpopo.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Acacia Sprite 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.