The photo above (by Joe Smereczansky) can be viewed in OdonataMAP here.
Find this species in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Orthetrum capicola – CAPE SKIMMER
Length around 57mm; Wingspan around 74mm.
Fairly easy to recognise. By far the most common Orthetrum species within its range.
Most similar to Orthetrum julia (Julia Skimmer) and Orthetrum chrysostigma (Epaulet Skimmer). Differentiated from Julia Skimmer by having yellowish pterostigmas, black claspers and a broad grey-white band on the sides of the thorax. The secondary genitalia of O. capicola and O. julia are very similar.
Told apart from Epaulet Skimmer by differently shaped secondary genitalia, and by the thorax stripe which is irregular and broader at the bottom. The thorax stripe on the Epaulet Skimmer is narrower and of even width.
The females are unusual in that they are more recognisable than the males. They have an overall colour ranging from dark pinkish through to red-brown with black lines. They also have two conspicuous white stripes on the sides of the thorax.
Click here for more details on identification.
Inhabits a wide range of habitat types, from rivers and streams to marshes, ponds and dams. Occupies both still and flowing waters. Non breeding individuals are often found away from water.
Often perches on the ground, but also on rocks and exposed stems and twigs. Hunts from a perch with a rapid, darting flight. Frequently returns to the same perch. Both sexes can be found in the same area. Often found hunting away from water in the surrounding habitats.
Status and Conservation
Very common. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Orthetrum capicola is endemic to South Africa. It occurs throughout the Western Cape, the southern parts of the Eastern Cape and marginally into the Northern Cape.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Cape Skimmer 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.