Anax congoliath Fraser, 1953
Dark Emperor

Type locality: Uele, Bambesa, DRC


Male belongs to speratus-group of genus by (a) dorsum of frons unmarked; (b) femora reddish, contrasting with black tibiae; (c) S10 with small process between cerci (accessory lamina); (d) cerci at most 2x as long as epiproct, with broad and rounded apex and no lump at base. However, differs by (1) occurring mostly at rainforest streams and rivers from N Zambia to Cameroon; (2) great size, Hw 55-63 mm; (3) venation all blackish, rather than thicker veins being orange to reddish; (4) membranule entirely dark, rather than the basal third being white; (5) Abd largely black rather than orange to reddish, contrasting with green frons and thorax, mostly green S2 and cream base of S4; (6) epiproct over ½ as long as cerci, rather than ½ or less the size. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Streams shaded by forest, but sometimes in clearings. From 100 to 1500 m above sea level.


confirmed: Angola; Cameroon; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gabon; Zambia

Male © C?®dric Vanappelghem

Appendages (dorsal view)

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.

Barcode specimen(s):

Adult, male; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, maison-route de l'aeroport © Mézière, Nicolas

Adult, female; Angola, Uige Province, new campus site and environs © Clausnitzer, V. & Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Gabon, Haut-Ogooué, Franceville-Kessala Road © Dijkstra, K.-D.B., Nicolas Mézière & Cédric Vanappelghem

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Province Orientale, Old Buta Road © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • Fraser, F.C. (1953). A new giant dragonfly from the Belgian Congo. Revue Zoologie Botanique Africaines, 48, 301-305.
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1962). New or little-known dragonflies (Odonata) of Central and Southern Africa. Occasional Papers National Museum Southern Rhodesia, 26, 892-911. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-21].