Orthetrum africanum (Selys, 1887)
Elongate Skimmer

Type locality: Cameroon, no locality data available.


Male is similar to O. julia and O. saegeri by (a) often found in or near forest; (b) frons at most with dorsal dark markings running down onto shields; (c) Pt usually 3 mm or longer, 10% of Hw length or more; (d) 1 row in radial planate, sum of cell-doublings 0-10 [0-14]; (e) all subcostal Ax dark; (f) Abd usually shorter than Hw (if longer, S4-6 with transverse bands); (g) lobe of hamule prominent, space between it and hook usually gaping cleft; (h) S4-6 with pale transverse subapical bands or spots, S7-9 and usually S10 all dark. Cerci often all pale in young specimens. However, differs by (1) labrum all black rather than partly pale; (2) Abd thin and slender rather than of normal proportions, besides bulbous S1-3, longer than Hw. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters, mostly in open areas in forest. Often with emergent vegetation, coarse detritus, a soft (like muddy) bottom, and probably blackwater. From 0 to 700 m above sea level, but possibly up to 1700.


confirmed: Benin; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Liberia; Mali; Republic of Guinea; São Tomé & Príncipe; Sierra Leone; Togo; NOT confirmed: Angola; Nigeria; Senegal

Male © Nicolas Meziere

Abdominal segment 2 (lateral 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, Plateau Batéké - vallée de la Léconi © Mézière, Nicolas, JENS KIPPING, HANNES KRAHNSTOEVER

Female; Liberia, Grand Bassa County, Buchanan © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Province Orientale, East of Isangi

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

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Province Equateur, Lower Itimbiri © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Sierra Leone, Eastern Province, 7 km south of Kenema © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Liberia, Grand Gedeh County, Putu Iron Ore Mining concession © Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & A. Dayeker

Male; Liberia, Grand Gedeh County, Putu Iron Ore Mining concession © Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & A. Dayeker


  • de Sélys-Longchamps, E. (1887). Odonates de l'Asie Mineure et révision de ceux des autres parties de la faune dite européenne. Première partie. Odonates de l'Asie Mineure. Annales Societe Entomologique Belgique, 31, 1-49.
  • Longfield, C. (1936). Studies on African Odonata, with synonymy and descriptions of new species and subspecies. Transactions Royal Entomological Society London, 85, 467-498. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1962). Some records of Odonata collected in tropical Africa. Journal Entomological Society Southern Africa, 25, 20-50. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]
  • Schmidt, E. (1951). Libellen aus Portugiesisch Guinea, mit Bemerkungen über andere aethiopische Odonaten. Arquivos Museu Bocage, 20, 125-200. [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1955). The Odonata of N. Angola. Part I. Publicacoes culturais Companhia Diamantes Angola, 27, 11-63. [PDF file]
  • D' Andrea, M., and Carfi, S. (1997). Nuove raccolte di odonati del Camerun con note su Agriocnemis maclachlani Selys, 1877 edescrizione di Agriocnemis dissimilis sp. nov. e Trithemis osvaldae sp. nov. Atti Societa italiana Scienze naturali, 136, 157-190. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. http://addo.adu.org.za/ [2024-05-26].