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Insect: Dragonflies

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
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wildtuinman
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Insect: Dragonflies

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:52 am

Taken @ Lake Panic.

Image
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Unread postby Jay » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:58 pm

the first dragonfly, the red one, is a Broad Scarlet; common and found throughout Africa in suitable habitats; pools with reeds, marshes and around bullrushes, is not found in forests.

the 2nd one is a little difficult, small pic, but it looks like a Black Percher: also a common species, but not found in SW Cape.Found at pools and rivers,marshes and non-permanent pans.

all courtesy of Sasol Field Guide to Dragonflies of Southern Africa 8) ...FYI:dragonflies have amazing names.

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Insects: Dragonflies

Unread postby francoisd » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:50 am

Some dragonflies photographed at Lake Panic Birdhide

Common Tygertail (Ictinogomphus ferox)
Image

Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa) [I think]
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Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata)
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My IDs were made from: Field Guide to insects of South Africa, 2004 Edition

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Dragonflies

Unread postby Erland » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:11 pm

I will be doing a loop around northern parts of South Africa, looking for dragonflies to photograph and enjoying nature. It will be in December 2006.

I will include a trip through Kruger, from north to south. Hope to see animals bigger than insects there :-)

Are there any picnic spots, camp or other places where I can get out of my car, and where I could find dragonflies ? This could be close to small waterholes etc.

Hope anyone has some thoughts on this. I have seen some photos of dragonflies taken near Satara camp, maybe that was from the small waterholes that should be located just outside the camp entrance.

cheers
Erland

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Unread postby gwendolen » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:19 pm

Hej Erland,

Welcome to the forum. :D

You might get lucky at one of the birdhides:

Bird hides:
Bird hides, Gardenia, Nthandanyathi birdhide, Lake Panic, Sweni Bird Hide, Sable Dam & Bird Hide, Overnight Hides

I'm sure about Lake Panic.

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Unread postby arks » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:20 pm

Hi Erland and welcome!!

One of the best places to observe and photograph dragonflies in KNP is at the many water crossing — places where a stream flows over the road. With the good rains currently in the lowveld, these watercrossings should be plentiful in December. These places are not marked specifically on maps as they depend on how much water is flowning in the streams, but they are found on many roads, so I think you'll have good opportunities to see and photography dragonflies. Enjoy your trip and do please return to tell us all about it in a trip report.
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Unread postby bucky » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:17 pm

Erland , hi there .

You will need the 400 for use from the vehicle , the 180 with 1.4 converter will work from the vehicle also .

You are not going to get within macro distance from the car though , but most camps have a pool , or some have ponds , so keep the macro for here .

Skukuza has some ponds , and 2 swiming pools that will be good .
Satara has a bird area near the pool and shops , that has ponds , so that will be good .
Shingwedzi has some ponds near the shops .
I am sure lake panic , the boardwalk from the nursery (Near lake panic) , as well as the nursery itself will provide some oportunitys , I would budget on a good morning just at these 3 spots .
The day visitors area of skukuza has some small streams flowing through it , and is next to the sabie river , so this will be good also .
When you are done there , go over the low level bridge near the day visitors area .
The low level bridge out the back of shingwedzi camp will be good .

Most of the sand roads cross low level bridges , where the water flows over these bridges , and is normally around 10-20 cm deep here , with reeds on either side , as well as open water , so I have found these to be good to .
Sand roads I can think of of the top of my head with good spots are -
the road from gudzani dam to gudzani pan S41, along to sweni bird hide , and the bridge near there (Satara camp)
The road from letaba to olifants , along the river .
The talamati area can become quite flooded in places , with lots of pans next to the road .
Redrocks road , towards bateleur camp , there are 2 low level bridges crosing the shingwedzi river along this road .
S114 from berg en dal to skukuza has a couple of low crossings , including the biyamiti weir road .

Whatever you do , dont get out your car at any river crossing , there are crocodiles in all the rivers in kruger , you will make an easy lunch .
Not to mention hippos , leopards , snakes etc that are also hanging about the rivers :lol:

Try let us know what camps you are staying in , I would say shingwedzi , satara and skukuza/berg en dal are ideal for what you are after .

Happy hunting :D

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Unread postby Erland » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:27 pm

lisa wrote:In Nov. 2003 we saw some interesting reddish and blueish colored dragonflies on the railing of the high water bridge over the Olifants River where you can get out of your vehicle. They were not holding still long enough for me to get decent pics that day but maybe you will have better luck.


Ahh yes, the cool thing is that there is only one species which occur both in Denmark and South Africa. All new species to enjoy. And if I should get a picture of this one species, a Blue Emperor (or Emperor Dragonfly) I wouldn't mind, as I only got a few poor pictures of the species from Denmark.

Not sure what you have seen Lisa, but maybe it could be a Jewel, of which there are three species in South Africa. They are so beatiful, but are in fact damselflies (both damselflies and dragonflies are in the same insect order called Odonata, and sometimes dragonfly is used for both). But these damselflies really look like dragonflies.

Erland

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Unread postby Erland » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:16 am

PAPA SMURF wrote:Hi Erland -- There are field guides to dragonflies and damselflies of South Africa written by Warwick and Michele Tarboton. I do not have the details of the Damselflies but here is the info on the Dragonflies

A Fieldguide to the Dragonflies of South Africa
Written by Warwick and Michele Tarboton
ISBN 0-620-29887-1
privately published by authors in 2002

I am sure you will be able to get details of the Damselfly book on one of the on line sellers like Amazon

hope this helps


I have recieved the Damselfly book, but are having trouble with the dragonfly book from 2002. I think it may be out of stock.

I am going to visit Warwick, so maybe he can help me.

Erland

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:23 am

A great place to photograph them is Lake Panic.

I also suggest you stop on any little low water drift with water flowing over it and wait a bit to see some activity. Good spots for this is on the S65, the stretch from the end of the S100 towards Nwanetsi, the Biyamithi weir and the low water bridge at the back gate of Shingwedzi.
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Unread postby francoisd » Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:43 pm

The photos below were all taken from Lake Panic Bird Hide. As said Skukuza and Satara has various ponds and water features that is frequented by "Drangonflies" and might be the best spots to get good close ups

Image
Image
Image

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Unread postby francoisd » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:30 am

As to WTM's suggestion maybe a question he or someone else can answer that might have visited the new broadwalk at the Skukuza nursery. As this is close to Lake Panic this should also be a good place to find some "dragonflies".

Anyone that's been there that can say "Yes" or "No" to this

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Unread postby Erland » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:04 pm

francoisd, I was at the Nursery, and was able to photograph one species there, that I did not see anywhere else in SA. Drive past lake panic entrance, and the road ends at the Nursery.

Trithemis aconita (Monkshood Dropwing), male.
16/12 2006, Lake Panic /Nursery, close to Skukuza camp, Kruger, at 11:07.

In Satara camp the water level was pretty low in the circular pond, but I managed to see two "new" damselfly species there.

At Lake Panic bird hide, it is not that easy to photograph dragonflies, but I managed to capture a single species with a 400 mm lens, which I did not see anywhere else in SA.
That was an Urothemis assignata (Red Basker).

All in all I saw 64 species in the north-eastern part of SA, and photographed 59 of those.

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Unread postby Erland » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:31 pm

Thank you very much for that comment gwendolen. Visiting South Africa, looking for dragonflies and visiting Kruger, is the best I've done for many years.

Freda, the Red-Veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa) was probably the dragonfly I saw at most locations in SA.
Saw it at several places in Kruger too.
My experience is that it's one of the first to appear at the water in the morning, and one of the last to leave in late afternoon.
In the hot mid-day, the males stay at the water and takes up the so-called obelisk position, pointing the abdomen (tail) towards the sun, to minimize the sun's rays hitting the body, and thereby staying cool.
Many other species do the same in the sunshine, but others species may stay in the shade, during the most warm hours of the summer day.

Several other species look like the Red-Veined Dropwing, but the dark sides at the end of the abdomen (tail), meant that I could identify it securely on my second day in SA.

Compared to species in northern Europe, this species, like so many others you have in SA, are so amazing in colours etc.

Erland

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Unread postby Erland » Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:23 pm

DuQues wrote:Erland, you made great photo's! Did South Africa disappoint you?

En tværrib tælles kun som en halv hvis den slutter allerede ved første langsgående rib (sub-costa) bag forkantsribben (costa).

How much did you read up on before you went? :shock: I read your explanation, but did not know the differences were so small!


South Africa is a beatiful country. I travelled 3200 km's in 16 days all by myself, having no problems at all, and only meeting friendly people everywhere. I visited an expert on dragonflies, and joined a family I met, staying with them for two days in a mountain lodge. I brought my own tent and tented in Kruger and a few other places.

I did not have a single day in SA where I did not add a new dragonfly species to my camera's memory. I have the guide books on damselflies and dragonflies, but only got the last at my arrivel to SA. Most species are easy to identify, especially with experience with these insects from other parts of the world. But some species in SA are so similar, that I may not be able to identify them from my photos.

I know that groups from USA and UK have visited, and in the future visit SA to see dragonflies. That is guided tours, but I like to do stuff on my own, and everyone without paranoia should consider to do the same :lol:

But I have studied where other people have photographed dragonflies in SA, and own Warwick Tarboton, an expert on dragonflies in SA, a big thanks for suggesting places to go. I used the internet heavily before going, and the forum here helped me understand how to get the most out of Kruger. I saw so many animals in the park, that I never dreamt of. The four days in Kruger was a big part of my trip. I may have visited other places like an Asian country, and see more dragonflies, but I would not have seen about 300 elephants in four days.

Just to be able to watch elephants bath in Klopperfontein water hole, north of Punda Maria, alone was worth the long flight to SA.

As a last comment, I can only dream of being able to make study of the dragonflies in Kruger. This is a perfect habitat with lots of rivers and water holes, and species from more tropical Africa, may be discovered here in the future.

Erland


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