The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Eastern Blacktail dragonfly

Afrikaans name: Swartstert Skepper

Eastern Blacktail dragonfly - Nesciothemis farinosa

Photo © Steven Herbert

Nesciothemis farinosa

With its black-tipped abdomen, black head, and blue body the male Eastern Blacktail is one of the easier dragonflies to identify. Females are yellowish-brown with black sides to their abdomens and a cream line on the top of their thoraxes. Both sexes have a cream spot on the outer leading edge of both front and rear wings. Older females are a pale blue on their thorax and abdomen. Immature males have blue on the head and some blue on the abdomen. They are 4 to 4.5 cm in length and have a wingspan of around 7 cm.

The Eastern Blacktail is found in a variety of habitats which range from ponds and dams to savanna.

They seem to have favourite perches from where they hunt returning to the same spot after a short flight. They are very protective of their hunting areas and chase their own species and other species of dragonfly away. They are not commonly found above an altitude of 1,500 metres.

It is found over most of sub-Saharan Africa and has a wide distribution in South Africa. Although it can be found near water almost anywhere in South Africa, it is most common in the savanna regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

References and further reading

A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa - Author: Warwick and Michele Tarboton - Published: 2015 - Page: 166

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 164

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