The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Wandering Glider

Afrikaans name: Narbroekie

Wandering Glider

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pantala flavescens

The Wandering Glider is also known as the Globe Skimmer or Pantala. It is possibly the most widely distributed dragonfly in the world. It is found in a broad band across all continents. It basically just avoids extreme cold and desert areas. The species was first described in India in 1798.

This dragonfly is about 4.5 cm in length and can have a wingspan of up to 8 to 9 cm. Male and female Wandering Glider are similar in colour, but males generally have darker wings. The abdomen of the male is more orange, and this becomes brighter with age.

The Wandering Glider is a gregarious species and large groups can be seen in certain circumstances such as moving away from bad weather. City dwellers may be aware of this species as large numbers can often be seen flying low over lawns or grass verges that have been freshly cut. Apparently, these insects can fly at a speed of 5 metres per second which seems to be pretty fast!

The female Wandering Glider lays up to 2000 eggs at a time. The eggs are around .5 mm in diameter. The larvae develop rapidly which enables this species to lay their eggs in temporary pools that may dry up.

References and further reading

Sasol First Field Guide to Dragonflies of Southern Africa - Author: Warren and Vienessa Goodwin - Published: 0 - Page: 53

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites - Author: C. Scholtz, J. Scholtz, H. De Klerk - Published: 2021 - Page: 328

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites - Author: C. Scholtz, J. Scholtz, H. De Klerk - Published: 2021 - Page: 149

Insects of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Clarke H. Scholtz and Erik Holm - Published: 1989 - Page: 46

Pocket Guide - Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths - Published: 2015 - Page: 20

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 166

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 42

A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa - Author: Warwick and Michele Tarboton - Published: 2015 - Page: 206


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