View the above photo record (by Desire Darling) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the Black Sprite in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Pseudagrion commoniae – BLACK SPRITE
Length up to 39mm; Wingspan attains 51mm.
Males are most similar to the dark form Swarthy Sprite (Pseudagrion hamoni). Pseudagrion commoniae can be told by its eyes which are black above and in front, with dark red below. In Pseudagrion hamoni the eyes are red in front.
Females are easily confused with those of several other sprite species. They are best identified by their association with the males.
Click here for more details on identification.
Inhabits the grass and reed lined verges of streams and rivers. Found mainly in hot savanna areas. Prefers slow moving stretches and pools, often where the water is fairly turbid. Occasionally found at dams and ponds.
Perches close to the water among reeds and grass. Usually quite reluctant to fly.
Most active from January to May but recorded year round in warmer areas. See Phenology below.
Status and Conservation
The Black Sprite is a common species in South Africa. It is listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Pseudagrion commoniae is found in Southern and East Africa, ranging from Ethiopia in the North to South Africa. In South Africa it is restricted to the savanna regions of the NE.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Black 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.