Orthetrum species are decidedly tricky in Southern Africa, there being quite a few lookalikes from which to choose. There is excellent help available here.
We spotted our suspect species on our way down from the Waterberg Plateau. When I was snapping these, I thought I was looking at O. chrysostigma, which I am familiar with from Spain, so superficially similar does it look. I couldn’t see any “Epaulet” but that tends to get covered in pruinosity in older males. However, the wing venation and pterostigma colour (dark) showed these to be O. julia.
There were two subspecies recognized: O. j. falsum and O. j. capicola. However, it now seems that DNA testing has inconclusive differences between the leading to the theory that there are colour variations (labrum, pterostigmas) within one species.
- dark pterostigmas (most orthetrum species show yellow pterostigmas
- few doubled cells in Rspl loop (0-14 in all four wings combined
- eyes dark green
- ♀ – S10 and appendages white