Palpopleura lucia (Lucia Widow/Black-winged Widow)

We saw these in Zambia 2022 where we found them along with its cousin, P. portia. In the past, the two have been treated as different colour forms of the same species but modern evidence shows them to be separate species. The males are quite easily distinguished by the extent and shape of the distinctive dark wing markings.

On that trip I also snagged a female Palpopleura. Females are, sadly, are very tricky to distinguish one from the other; my Namibia book suggests impossible. There are, however, a couple of differential factors mentioned and diagrammed on John Wilkinson’s excellent website. Based on these, I THINK that my female specimen was of P. portia.

Id Notes

  • ♂ – the wing markings make this unmistakable
  • ♀ – very difficult to distinguish from P. lucia
immature male