Aethiothemis solitaria Ris in Martin, 1908
Pearly Flasher


  • scientific: A. carpenteri (Fraser, 1944); A. discrepans Lieftinck, 1969
  • vernacular: Southern Gorgeous Skimmer

Type locality: Bolama, Guinea


Male is similar to A. palustris by (a) fairly small size, Hw 22-27 mm; (b) labium uniformly pale yellow to brown, at most darkened on central lobe; (c) thorax marked with black stripes on humeral and metapleural sutures and Abd with broad black dorsal band and narrow lateral ones (all pruinose with maturity); (d) Fw triangle of 2 cells, subtriangle of 3-4, but both sometimes just of 1; (e) distal Ax in Fw often complete; (f) costa dark, like subcosta and anterior vein of Pt; (g) subcostal cross-veins pale, contrasting with dark subcosta and median vein; (h) tibiae black with pale yellow or brown streaks; (i) hind femur with 15-25 denticles in outer anterior row; (j) Abd broad, S3 at most 1.5x as long as wide (dorsal view); (k) venter of Abd yellow to pale brown. However, differs by (1) wings clear rather than amber, and at most small yellow patch at base and slightly darkened tips; (2) mostly 2 rows between anal loop and tornus, 4 between Rspl and posterior wing border. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters, flowing channels in marshes, but possibly also rivers, streams, seeps and springs, shaded by gallery forest, but also in open areas in forest or open landscapes. Usually with emergent vegetation. From 0 to 1900 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.


confirmed: Angola; Botswana; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gabon; Liberia; Malawi; Namibia; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Guinee-Bissau; Mali; Mozambique

Male (mature) © Jens Kipping

Male (young) © 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):

Female; Liberia, Nimba County, Yekepa © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Liberia, Nimba County, Yekepa © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Liberia, Nimba County, east of Gbapa © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Female; Liberia, Nimba County, east of Gbapa © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • Martin, R. (1908). Voyages de feu Leonardo Fea dans l'Afrique Occi­dentale: Odonates. Annali Museo Civico Storia Naturale Genova, 43, 649-667. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]
  • Lieftinck, M.A. (1969). Odonates Anisoptères - Odonata Anisoptera. Explor. hydrob. Lac Bangweolo and Luapula, 14, 1-64. [PDF file]

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