Trithemis hecate Ris, 1912
Silhouette Dropwing

Type locality: Tananarive, Madagascar


Male is similar to some Trithemis species by (a) being widespread; (b) dorsum of frons metallic blue or purple, occasionally pale, bronze or black; (c) labrum often largely black; (d) pruinosity of thorax in life pale to dark blue, brown or black; (e) venation largely dark, brown to black, like veins of Pt; (f) all wings with 2-8 celldoublings in radial planate [0-8]; (g) Fw discoidal field of 3-4 rows; 3-9 rows between anal loop and tornus; (h) arculus between Ax1-2, at most at Ax2 in Hw; (i) anterior lamina with bulbous anterior profile and without knobs; genital lobe almost as long as short-hooked hamule; (j) hamule with short, strongly curved hook; genital lobe curved forward, stands parallel to hamule; (k) Abd largely black, often with some pale markings, appears blue pruinose or black with maturity. However, T. hecate is set apart from the rest by (1) 8½-9½ Ax in Fw; (2) Hw base with distinct amber patch, which extends onto anal field and nears Cux; (3) genital lobe broad, about as wide as hamule; (4) Abd very slender, S4 over 5x as long as wide (best seen in ventral view). [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters, but also flowing channels in marshes, in open landscapes. Often with emergent vegetation and a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 1700 m above sea level.


confirmed: Botswana; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gabon; Gambia; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Malawi; Republic of Guinea

Male © Jens Kipping

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):

Male; Liberia, Grand Gedeh County, Tappita Road just west of Zwedru © Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & A. Dayeker

Male; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, Plateau Batéké - vallée de la Léconi © Mézière, Nicolas, ANDRE GUENTHER,JENS KIPPING, RAIK MORITZ, HANNES KRAHNSTOEVER


  • Ris, F. (1912). Libellulinen 6. Fasc. XIV in Collections Zoologiques du Baron Edm. de Selys Longchamps. Brussels : Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, 14, 701-836.
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Lieftinck, M.A. (1969). Odonates Anisoptères - Odonata Anisoptera. Explor. hydrob. Lac Bangweolo and Luapula, 14, 1-64. [PDF file]
  • Schmidt, E. (1951). Libellen aus Portugiesisch Guinea, mit Bemerkungen über andere aethiopische Odonaten. Arquivos Museu Bocage, 20, 125-200. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1970). Monographic study of the genus Trithemis Brauer (Odonata: Libellulidae). Memoirs Entomological Society Southern Africa, 11, 1-159. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-25].