Blue-sided Sprite (Pseudagrion sudanicum)

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

Find the Blue-sided Sprite in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Coenagrionidae

Pseudagrion sudanicumBLUE-SIDED SPRITE

Identification

Small size

Length up to 39mm; Wingspan reaches 51mm.

Males are unmistakable and unlike any other South African species. The combination of chocolate brown eyes, large bright blue postocular spots and bright blue thorax sides are diagnostic.

Females are also distinctive being overall orange and black. They are however quite similar to the orange-form females of Ischnura senegalensis (Tropical Bluetail). Female Blue-sided Sprites are larger and more elongate and have thin black antehumeral lines on the the thorax.

Click here for more details on identification.

Pseudagrion sudanicum – Male
Nwanedi Resort, Limpopo
Photo by John Wilkinson

Habitat

Inhabits fast flowing rivers in hot savanna regions. Favours sites with an abundance emergent grass, sedge, reeds or papyrus.

Behaviour

Typically perches over the water on emergent vegetation.

On the wing from October to May but may fly all year in some places. See Phenology below.

Status and Conservation

A generally uncommon species. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Distribution

The Blue-sided Sprite is a species of East and Southern Africa, ranging from Sudan in the north down into the NE parts of South Africa.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Blue-sided 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.

Phenology

Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Megan Loftie-Eaton is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. Sally Hofmeyr has many years' experience in the academic world, writing her own material and editing the work of others. Her academic background is in the natural sciences: her PhD and first postdoc in ornithology and environmental change (Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town). 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 Odonata Map project. 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.