Orthetrum caffrum (Burmeister, 1839)
Two-striped Skimmer

Type locality: Natal, South Africa


Male is similar to O. camerunense by (a) thorax with 1-3 contrasting whitish stripes on each side, each one with dark border on anterior or both sides; (b) when stripes are faint or invisible due to pruinosity, then labium and labrum all pale, lobe of hamule low and Abd always shorter than Hw; (c) wings clear around nodes; (d) metepimeral carina at most with posterior corner marked with black. Dorsal carina of Abd without black; (e) mesepimeral whitish stripe lies against humeral suture; (f) hook of hamule turned forward, lobe rounded. However, differs by (1) being widespread; (2) both mesepimeron and metepimeron with dark-bordered white stripe; (3) yellow at Hw base almost absent; (4) hook of hamule with rounded posterior border. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Standing and probably often temporary waters, streams, headwaters, seeps and springs in open landscapes or sometimes also open areas in forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 3000 m above sea level, but mostly between 1000 and 2100.


confirmed: Angola; Botswana; Cameroon; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Eritrea; Somalia

Male © Hans-Joachim Clausnitzer

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; South Africa, Western Cape, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, male; South Africa, Western Cape, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, Upemba National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, Upemba National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, Upemba National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, male; Zimbabwe, Manicaland, Chimanimani National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • Burmeister, H. (1839). Handbuch der Entomologie. Zweiter Band, Befondere Entomologie. Zweite Abtheilung. Kauterfe. Gymnognatha. (Zweite hälfte; vulgo Neuroptera). Enslin, Berlin 755-1050. Odonata, 805-862.
  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • 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. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Ris, F. (1931). Odonata aus Süd-Angola. Revue Suisse Zoologie, 38, 97-112. [PDF file]
  • Calvert, P.P. (1892). Preliminary notes on some African Odonata. Transactions American Entomological Society, 19, 161-164. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1955) The Odonata of N. Angola. Part I. Publicacoes culturais Companhia Diamantes Angola 27: 11-63 [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909) Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. 1. Odonata. Stockholm 14 (1): 1-52

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. http://addo.adu.org.za/ [2024-07-21].