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Trithemis annulata (Violet Dropwing, Violet-marked Darter / Menekşeli Yusufçuk)

Trithemis annulata (Violet Dropwing, Violet-marked Darter / Menekşeli Yusufçuk)


Trithemis annulata (Violet Dropwing, Violet-marked Darter / Menekşeli Yusufçuk) [Male/Erkek] from Geçitköy (Panağra), Girne/Kyrenia, KKTC/TRN Cyprus- 24.10.2008.

Trithemis (Dropwings) is a genus including the medium-sized libellulids with gaudy males and distinctive forewing venation, with 9.5-12.5 antenodal veins, discoidal field narrowing towards the wing border and of three rows of cells at its base, and mostly two rows of cells anterior to Radial supplemental vein (Rspl: longitudinal vein without clear beginning and end points, that lies centrally in apical half of the wing). In the hand, the metallically shining snout and strongly hooked hamule –grasping organ of secondary genitalia- render males unmistakable.

Trithemis annulata (Violet Dropwing, Violet-marked Darter)

Violet Dropwing is one of the most abundant dragonflies of tropical Africa. Extends into Spain, Corsica, France, Italia, S. Greece, S. Turkey and Cyprus, along the Mediterranean, where it is expanding its range. The broad-bodied, vividly violet male of this expanding African species is unmistakable. Total length of the body is 32-38mm. Abdomen lengt 17-29mm. This species is clearly smaller than Crocothemis erythraea (Broad Scarlet Dragonfly). Mature male is readily identified by the metallic purple vertex and frons, red veins, deep amber hindwing base, broadened abdomen and plum-coloured body. The characteristic violet bloom results from pruinosity covering the red thorax and abdomen. Female is yellow-brown, with a large yellow patch at the hindwing base. Female differs from other Trithemis by the heavier abdomen, marked with a black dorsal bar on 8th & 9th segments. Its Asian counterpart, T. aurora, is known from south-east Iran and may appear in Turkey. Mature male of this species is smaller and pinker, hindwing patch is deeper and larger (often covering triangle), forewing with a similarly extensive patch, genital lobe pointed, 8th and often 9th segments without a dorsal black bar but 9th segment with lateral black.

Violet Dropwing males are yellowish at emergence, turning orange and red before attaining their final violet colour. Males perch prominently on waterside stakes. Any sunny water in Africa, favouring warm spots in the periphery of its range, such as shallow gravel pits, open lakes or lagoons. Its fligh season is probably all year in the Sahara, but mainly May to October in Morocco and recorded from early April to mid-October in Turkey. I recorded this species late October in Cyprus.

References: 1. Chinery, M. (1986). Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe, Collins, Glasgow, 320 pp. 2. Dijkstra K.-D. (2006). Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe including Western Turkey and noth-Western Africa. British Wildlife Publishing, Dorset, UK. 320 pp. 3. Beaton, G. (2007). Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Soustheast. University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia, 355 pp.