Orthetrum abbotti (Little Skimmer)

The smallest of the confusing set of South African Orthetrum species. Of course, size can be a poor guide without a nearby comparison, or with less than extensive experience. So care needs to be taken. There are some excellent comparative photographs here.

We met our pair (there was a female, too) of Little Skimmers on the way down from our scramble up the Waterberg Plateau in Namibia. I had been snapping what I then suspected were examples of O. chrysostigma but which turned out to be my first encounters with O. julia, and these two did look smaller.

Id Notes

  • smaller than the many lookalike Orthetrum species
  • consequently, the yellow pterostigmas look somewhat chunkier
  • ♂ – the thorax tends not to be covered completely in pruinosity; yellow and blue can be seen
  • ♂ – faint “spectacle” marks on the frons, said to be diagnostic