View the above photo record (by Richard Johnstone) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the Catshead Sprite in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Pseudagrion coeleste – CATSHEAD SPRITE
There are two subspecies of the Catshead Sprite in South Africa: Pseudagrion coeleste coeleste and Pseudagrion coeleste umsingaziense.
Length up to 38mm; Wingspan reaches 42mm.
Most similar to Pseudagrion assegaii (Assegai Sprite).
Differentiated from Pseudagrion assegai by being larger and greener. The Assegai Sprite lacks the hints of green on the thorax and eyes of the Catshead Sprite. Most importantly the two species differ in the shape of the black marking on the second abdomen segment. Pseudagrion assegaii shows a spear or assegai-shaped marking, whereas Pseudagrion coeleste has a marking that resembles the head of a cat.
Click here for more details on identification.
Frequents well vegetated still water habitats, such as pans, lakes, floodplains and dams. Particularly fond of sites with an abundance of waterlilies (Nhymphaea). Less often found along slow moving river sections.
Found close to the water where it perches on emergent and floating vegetation, especially waterlilies. Flies low over the water.
Recorded throughout the year, but most active from October to March (see Phenology below)
Status and Conservation
Fairly common but localised. Pseudagrion coeleste coeleste is listed as of Least Concern, while Pseudagrion coeleste umsingaziense is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Catshead Sprite is native to Southern and East Africa. Occurs from Angola across to Zambia and on to southern Tanzania and down through Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the NE parts of South Africa.
In South Africa it is found Limpopo and Mpumalanga (Pseudagrion coeleste coeleste) and in Northern KwaZulu-Natal (Pseudagrion coeleste umsingaziense).
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Catshead 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.