Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Oding in Mauritius

The SSR (Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam) Botanic Gardens at Pamplemousses, have some reasonable habitat to accommodate some of the common odonata species of Mauritius.

The first water I came to was the Victoria lily pond. Dragonflies seemed to like the raised edges of the lilies and 4 species were quickly found here.
The first appeared dark from most angles but when the light caught it a deep blue was apparent. Trolling through the photographs on http://www.africa-dragonfly.net/ I found a likely suspect in Black Percher Diplacodes lefebvrii It spent much of it’s time chasing off other odes that entered it’s airspace.
The second ode of the day nearly fell prey to a young Green-backed Heron. The large blotches at the base of the hindwing, the distinctive venation and the yellow/brown triangular windows give me confidence to name it as a Phantom Flutterer Rhyothemis semihyalina.
Number three was an Aeshnid which would not sit to have his picture taken. I believe that it was the Blue Emperor Anax imperator as the only blue aeshnid I can see evidence of in Mauritius. It was present at every body of water and moist patch that I encountered.
Number four stayed at some distance but the yellow spots on the side of it’s abdomen gave me cause to consider Ringed Cascader Zygonyx torridus as an initial identity. Z torridus does occur in Mauritius and I could find no other suitable candidate until I checked the female Black Percher which is a real possibility. Close by is a shallow grassy pond, fed and drained by a stream. On prominent points around the pond, 2 types of skimmer were conspicuous. One was an Orthetrum species. The very pinched abdomen at S3 &4 possibly indicated the Epaulet Skimmer Orthetrum chrysostigma, but I rather fancy Spectacled Skimmer Othetrum icteromelas for this one. It has a dark shoulder stripe and darker anterior margins to it’s pterostigma.
The other was the increasingly familiar Violet Dropwing Trithemis annulata. This ode has gained popularity with this blogger because of it’s ease of identification. But now I come to look at the last sections of it's abdomen..... can anyone confirm please?
Perched on debris in the draining stream was my one and only zygoptera of the day I have yet to identify this one. It seemed to prefer being very close to the water. It either perched on midstream debris or on low, overhanging grass.
Lastly, a poor observation of yet another frustrating Orthetrum. I noted the stripes on the thorax, but have nothing that compares to it in any information that I can find.


  1. Hi Simon,

    Try Trimethis aurora (Crimson Marsh Glider)for your Red one. I had one that I believe is this from Bras D'eau reserve this year,

    kind regards, Martin Parr

  2. I do not think it is the correct scarlet for T. aurora, so a really intense colour form of T. annulata is probable.
    Saw some beauties in Pamplemousse Gardens.