Dragonflies Dragonflies


Dancing Broad-Legged Jewel

Dancing Broad-legged Jewels (Platycypha caligata) inhabit rocky, fast-flowing zones of river.

Cryptic Spreadwing

Cryptic Spreadwings similar to Spotted Spreadwings in the males' appendages, hence the meaning of the Latin dissimulans.

Pallid Spreadwing

Pale/Pallid Spreadwing vary in colour with the pale form of the species common in the country's drier areas.

Pinhey's Spreadwing

Pinhey's Spreadwing is named after Elliot CG Pinhey.

Spotted Spreadwing

Spotted Spreadwing carry 3 teeth in the inner margins of each of the male's upper appendages.

Common Riverjack

Common Riverjacks inhabit fast-flowing sections of streams and rivers, the adult preferring unshaded stretches of water.

Common Threadtail

Common Threadtails can be observed in swift-flowing sections of streams and rivers, often amongst reeds.

Tropical Threadtail

Tropical Threadtails inhabit rivers and are a rare species in Namibia.

Long Slim

Little is known about the ecology or behaviour of the Long Slim. It is believed to live in swamps.

Black-Tailed Bluet

Black-tailed Bluets can be found in spring-fed ponds created from the damming of streams.

Pale Bluet

The body of the Pale Bluet has been described as subtle, subtile comes from the Latin subtiles meaning 'fine in texture, delicately slender'.

Swamp Bluet

Most recordings of the Swamp Bluet have been in locations of 1,200m above sea level at perennial or temporary waters with submerged aquatic vegetation.

Angolan Whisp

A key identification feature of the Angolan Whisp is the finger-like upper appendages being directly longer than the lower ones.

Little Whisp

The Little Whisp is a rather lean and slender creature, hence the Latin name exiles.

Gracious Whisp

The common name Gracious Whisp refers to the charming quality of this species, Latin for gratiosa meaning both 'gracious and kind'.

Orange Whisp

Although the recordings of the Orange Whisp in Namibia are few and far between, the species is not threatened due to the large population that occurs in the Okavango Delta.

Victoria Whisp

Victoria Whisps were named after Lake Victoria where specimens where first collected.

Common Orange

Common Oranges can be found along the swampy river segments and in seasonal rain pools.

Coral-Red Orange

Little is known of the Coral-red Orange. Corallinus is Latin for 'coral-red' referring the colouration of the abdomen.

Katambora Orange

Katambora Oranges appear completely dark red from a distance.

Pleasant Orange

Pleasant Oranges can be observed at backwaters and oxbow lakes and rain pools.

Common Bluetail

Common Bluetails are common and widespread throughout Namibia.

Acacia Sprite

Acacia Sprites inhabit most of northern Namibia's perennial rivers.

Assegai Sprite

Assegai Sprites are so called because of the spear-like markings on segment 2, resembling the feared Zulu assegai weapon.

Black Sprite

Little is know of the behaviour and ecology of the Black Sprite.

Catshead Sprite

Catshead Sprites inhabit rivers, especially the well-vegetated, swampy or reedy sections.

Cherry-Eye Sprite

Cherry-eye Sprites will inhabit running waters, although sightings of this species at swimming pools have been recorded.

Dark Sprite

Dark Sprites occur at swampy fringes of rivers. They are named after RC Dening, a noted entomologist.

Glaucous Sprite

Glaucous Sprites have long and slender bodies. They are a river species.

Hamon's Sprite

The first recorded specimens of Hamon's Sprite are attributed to Jacques Hamon, a French entomologist, at Yabasso, Burkino Faso in June 1953.

Kersten's Sprite

Kersten's Sprite can only be observed in peaceful small streams with sedges.

Massai Sprite

Massai Sprites typically inhabit well-vegetated lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools and artificial waterholes.

Nubian Sprite

Nubian Sprites prefer well-vegetated areas and slow-moving perennial waters.

Ruby Sprite

Ruby Sprites have been observed in sections of the Kwando River with swampy fringes.

Salisbury Sprite

The first specimens of the Salisbury Sprite were collected in Salisbury Mashonaland, Zimbabwe.

Sudan Sprite

The claw-like shape of the male appendages and the striking head and body colours of the Sudan Sprite make this an easier to identify species than most Sprites in the field.

Common Tigertail

Common Tigertails are one of the largest dragonflies in the country.

Swamp Tigertail

Swamp Tigertails were first described 'from Dundo' in Angola in 1955.

Quarre's Fingertail

Quarre's Fingertails were named after Pierre Quarre, a Belgian botanist, who collected the first specimens in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Common Fairytail

Common Fairytails are a very small and slender creature that prefer staying in the deep shade of trees.

Common Fairytail

Common Fairytails are a very small and slender creature that prefer staying in the deep shade of trees.

Silke's Fairytail

Silke's Fairytail are afforded a similar habitat preference to the Common Fairytail.

Common Thorntail

Common Thorntails can be observed in certain lakes and dams and sections of perennial rivers.

Bold Leaftail

Bold Leaftails were named after a Belgian founder of odonatology, Baron Michel Edmond de Selys-Longchamps.

Kokytos Siphontail

Kokytos Siphontails are a riverine species, inhabiting fast-flowing river sectors and rapids.

Mastigogomphus Sp.

Mastigogomphus sp are a riverine species preferring fast-flowing waters.

Zambezi Siphontail

Zambezi Siphontails can be observed near rapids and swamps.

Yellowjack Longleg

The most distinguishing feature of Yellowjack Longlegs are their very long hind legs.

Cataract Hooktail

Cataract Hooktails can be identified with some ease by the distinct spine ending of the upper appendage.

Clubbed Hooktail

Clubbed Hooktails inhabit large rivers, usually resting in nearby shrubland.

Common Hooktail

Common Hooktails inhabit fresh waters such as larger perennial rivers to smaller streams, temporary waters and lakes.

Corkscrew Hooktail

Corkscrew Hooktails occur around large open oxbow, floodplain, lakes and along large, slow-moving rivers.

Hartmann's Hooktail

Hartmann's Hooktail inhabits streams, rivers and the well-vegetated margins of pools.

Horned Hooktail

Unusually, the female Horned Hooktails often rest in shallow vegetation near the water, whereas males have not been observed doing this.

Kavango Hooktail

Kavango Hooktails were first recorded upstream in the Kavango River with the confluence of the Cuito River.

Rock Hooktail

Rock Hooktails frequent rivers and pools, rocky streams. Their upper appendages curve outwards.

Brown Dust-Hawker

Brown Dust-hawkers have a thick, haired thorax, from the Latin villosus 'hairy or shaggy'.

Little Dust-Hawker

The length of an individual wing of a Little Dust-hawker is usually smaller than the length of the abdomen.

Friendly Hawker

Friendly Hawkers live in streams with overhanging vegetation in higher terrain.

Black Emperor

Black Emperors occur mostly in temporary waters, rain and floodplains in the north and from farm dams in the south.

Blue Emperor

Blue Emperors dominate the waterside over other species of dragonfly.

Orange Emperor

Orange Emperors are the second largest species of dragonfly in Namibia.

Swamp Emperor

Swamp Emperors are rare in Namibia but do occur in swampy river courses and water channels running between reeds.

Vagrant Emperor

Vagrant Emperors are migrants with travelling long distances an intricate part of their life cycle.

Clubbed Cruiser

Clubbed Cruisers can be found in large rivers. They were named after FG Overlact, a Belgian entomologist.

Darting Cruiser

Darting Cruisers hunt in forest gaps and in shrubland.

Two-Banded Cruiser

Male Two-banded Cruisers often cruise the river by day and hunt in clearings above high ground in the evening.


Inspectors inhabit swamps, perching in the shade of branches of trees for most of the time.

Banded Groundling

Banded Groundlings occur mainly at lakes and large rivers.

Red Groundling

Red Groundlings only occur at rivers and not 'pertaining to lakes' as the Latin lacustris refers.

Twilight Groundling

Twilight Groundlings tend to be active only at dusk and flying along reeds at dawn.

Pied Spot

Pied-Spots occur mainly at well-vegetated ponds and swamps.

Black-Winged Widow

Black-winged Widows occur at swamps.

Deceptive Widow

Deceptive Widows can be observed at shallow pans with immature grasses or reeds.

Shadow-Bridge Widow

Shadow-bridge Widows inhabit vegetated open pools.

Yellow-Veined Widow

Yellow-veined Widows can be found at spring-fed ponds and streams with lush vegetation.

Black-Winged Flutterer

Adult Black-winged Flutterers form swarms at the tops of trees in swamps and lush oxbows of floodplains.

Butterfly Flutterer

Little is known of the striking Butterfly Flutterer. Possibly they inhabit swamps.

Phantom Flutterer

The Phantom Flutterer can be observed at waters with vegetation and a thick-tangled mass of floating algae.

Keyhole Glider

Keyhole Gliders are a migrant species with distinctive hindwing markings.

Voyaging Glider

Male Voyaging Gliders can remain airborne for long periods, hence the common name.

Blue Basker

Blue Baskers are named after Henri Milne Edwards (1800-1885), of the Jardin des Plantes de Paris, who collected this species in Algeria.

Red Basker

Red Baskers prefer lush slow-moving waters.

African Pygmy Basker

African Pygmy Baskers are a small dragonfly with a broad abdomen.

Southern Gorgeous Skimmer

Southern Gorgeous Skimmers occur at swampy sections of rivers.

Black-Faced Skimmer

Black-faced Dancing Skimmers prefer taller reeds than most other species.

Epaulette Skimmer

Epaulette Skimmers sport distinctive stripes on each side of the thorax, hence the epaulette connection.

Guinea Skimmer

Male Guinea Skimmers have diagnostically shaped genitalia.

Hintz's Skimmer

Hintz's Skimmer inhabit vegetation near the edges of rivers and streams.

Julia Skimmer

Julia Skimmers are mostly restricted to shady habitats near streams and small springs.

Little Skimmer

Little Skimmer are the smallest species of this genus.

Long Skimmer

Long or Slender Skimmer have characteristic long and slender abdomens.

Machado's Skimmer

Machado's Skimmer mainly inhabit floodplains, well-vegetated pans and perennial ponds.

Robust Skimmer

The largest species of Orthetrum in southern Africa is the Robust Skimmer.

Spectacled Skimmer

Spectacled Skimmers sport 2 specular dark rings on the front of the males hence the common name.

Strong Skimmer

Strong Skimmers are also known as River Skimmers as they occur in all freshwater habitats including rivers, floodplains of larger rivers and other smaller water bodies such as dams, oshanas and other wetland impoundments.

Tough Skimmer

Larger ponds with water lilies and oxbow lakes are the favoured habitat of the Tough Skimmer.

Two-Striped Skimmer

Two-striped Skimmers favour lush temporary ponds and slow-moving rivers.

Grizzled Pintail

The abdomen of Grizzled Pintails resembles the curve of a scorpion's tail.

Horned Rockdweller

There are 2 small, horn-like growths in the frons end of Horned Rock-dwellers, hence the common name.

Global Wanderer

Global Wanderers emerge in huge numbers after rain. Adults occur in large numbers.

Old World Twister

The slender body and hindwing markings of the Old World Twister can be observed in huge numbers, although adults are active only at dusk and dawn.

Barbet Percher

Barbet Perchers are also known as Luminous Perchers.

Black Percher

Black Perchers were named after the French entomologist Alexandre Lefebvre who collected specimens on an expedition to Egypt in 1828-1829.

Red-Veined Darter

Red-veined Darters are a migrant species that head for drier regions of the country in the rainy season, where they adapt to the rain pools for short durations.

Swamp Darter

Swamp Darters are only found in swamps and large, slow-moving water bodies.

Dark Dropwing

Because of the confusion in colours and markings of Dark Dropwings, little is known of this species other than they are found in flooded grass plains.

Denim Dropwing

Male Denim Dropwings perch on the ground, hence their preference for rocks in rivers or lakes.

Hecate Dropwing

Hecate Dropwings occur mainly at sections of swampy rivers and oshanas.

Jaunty Dropwing

Jaunty Dropwings inhabit small, perennial, shady, streams.

Monk's Hood Dropwing

tion: The unusual name of the Monk's Hood Dropwing (Trithemis aconita) is derived from the shape of the anterior lamina of the male genitalia, which resembles the Monk's Hood flower.

Navy Dropwing

Navy Dropwing are found only at locations with fast-moving waters, often perching over streams.

Okavango Dropwing

Okavango Dropwings can be observed in swampy sections of rivers

Elegant Dropwing

Elegant Dropwings were named after Dr Franz Werner an Austrian zoologist and explorer who collected the first specimens in Uganda in 1905. They have a slender, cylinderical abdomen and are known to inhabit rivers in the north of the country.

Monard's Dropwing

Monard's Dropwing were first collected by Dr Albert Monard (1886-1952) in southern Angola in 1928.

Red-Veined Dropwing

Red-veined Dropwings are similar in size colouration to Monard's Dropwing.

River Dropwing

River Dropwings are usually observed in the wooded edges of moving streams and rivers.

Rock Dropwing

Rock Dropwing are also known as Orange-winged Dropwing because of the colouration of the four wings, the orange reaching up halfway to the node of each wing.

Violet Dropwing

The sparking contrasting colours of the Violet Dropwing make it one of the easier dragonflies to identify.

Broad Scarlet

Broad Scarlets inhabit almost any freshwater body.

Small Scarlet

Small Scarlets are always around small rocks, fast-moving waters and at times waterfalls.

Slender Bottletail

The unique bulbous shape of the Slender Bottletail is highlighted its general body colour.

Fuelleborn's Spectacular

Male Fuelleborn's Spectacular perch on trees by sections of fast-moving rivers and at rapids.

Blue Cascader

Blue Cascaders are sometimes mistaken for Skimmers when over water, although the latter do not patrol for extended periods.

Ringed Cascader

Ringed Cascaders inhabit rapids and waterfalls but only at small streams.

Pale Scarlet

Pale Scarlets only attempt short flights, using rocks and termite mounds to rest during the day.

Glistening Demoiselle

A feature of the Glistening Demoiselle is the conspicuous territorial behaviour amongst males.

Dancing Broad-Legged Jewel

Dancing Broad-legged Jewels inhabit rocky, fast-flowing zones of river.

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