Two-banded Cruiser (Phyllomacromia contumax)

View the above photo record (by Bernardine Altenroxel) in OdonataMAP here.

Find the Two-banded Cruiser in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Macromiidae

Phyllomacromia contumax TWO-BANDED CRUISER


Very large

Length up to 68mm; Wingspan attains 103mm.

Recognisable as a Phyllomacromia species by its large size, striking black and yellow colouration and bright emerald green eyes.

Most similar to the Sable Cruiser (Phyllomacromia monoceros) and the Darting Cruiser (Phyllomacromia picta). The Two-banded cruiser can be differentiated by being noticeably larger and by having an unmarked glossy black/brown thorax.

Click here for more details on identification of the Two-banded Cruiser.

Phyllomacromia contumax – Male
Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Mozambique
Photo by Gerhardt Diedericks
Phyllomacromia contumax – Female
Enseleni Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Frequents the margins of rivers, lakes, pans and marshes in savanna and forest regions. Most numerous in habitats where there is a patchwork of wetland and woodland. Often found away from water, hunting in woodland clearings and along roads. Most abundant in humid regions.

Habitat – Eastern Shores, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Highly aerial and most often encountered in flight, but can occasionally be found perched. Hangs vertically from a perch when at rest. Patrols back and forth along a chosen course, along the edge of a wetland, around the treetops or along a road or clearing.

Most active from October to May, but may fly year-round in warmer areas. See Phenology below.

Status and Conservation

Locally common. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Frequently found around suitable man-made habitats.


Phyllomacromia contumax is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. Absent only from the arid regions of NE Africa and SW Africa. In South Africa the Two-banded Cruiser occurs widely in the N and E. Most abundant in NE KwaZulu-Natal.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Two-banded Cruiser 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.