Xanthocnemis zealandica (Common Redcoat)

One of four Redcoat damselflies which are endemic to New Zealand, Xanthocnemis zealandica is the only widespread one of them. This was certainly our most frequently encountered odo in New Zealand.

Two relatives have a very limited distribution, X. sinclairi (Alpine Redcoat) being only recorded at the headwaters of the Rakaia river on South Island and X. tuanii (Chatham Redcoat) being limited to Chatham Island.

The third relative, X. sobrina (Kauri Redcoat) is found in the Kauri forests of Northland and the Coromandel on North island. X. sobrina is a larger beast than X. zealandica. There is a slim chance that our very first NZ odonata encounters could have been with X. sobrina at the Gilmour Reserve in Waihi – these individuals struck us as relatively large but we had no yardstick for comparison at the time – and that some of those shown below just might be examples of X. sobrina. Without proof, though, we currently assume them all to be X. zealandica. [It is possible, I imagine, that both species inhabit parts of the Gilmour Reserve.]

in tandem