Trithemis annulata (Palisot de Beauvois, 1807)
Violet Dropwing

Type locality: Oware [= Owerri?], Nigeria


Male is similar to T. pluvialis by (a) labrum at least partly pale; (b) at least some basal veins yellow to red; Pt yellow to dark reddish brown; (c) hamule with short, strongly curved hook; (d) Abd broad, S4 under 3x as long as wide (best seen in ventral view); (e) S8-9 largely pale with thick black line over dorsal carina and at most black line along lateral carinae; (f) lateral carinae of S5-7 usually unmarked. However, differs by (1) being widespread; (2) vertex and dorsum of frons violet metallic rather than yellow-brown, without black band; (3) black markings of thorax often smeared out beyond sutural fossae and streak below metastigma; (4) anterior lamina with sparse, evenly spaced hairs; (5) genital lobe broad, about as wide as hamule; (6) Abd pruinose with maturity, appearing violet. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Mostly standing and often temporary waters, but also rivers, streams and possibly large lakes and flowing channels in marshes, in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest. Usually with emergent vegetation and often a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 2000 m above sea level, but mostly below 1500.


confirmed: Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Equatorial Guinea; Republic of Guinea

Male © Hans-Joachim Clausnitzer

Abdominal segment 2 (lateral view)

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.

Barcode specimen(s):

Male; Liberia, Nimba County, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Province Orientale, Kisangani © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Tanzania, Kigoma Region, Lower Malagarasi Basin © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Liberia, Nimba County, East Nimba Nature Reserve © Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & M. Darpay

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Female; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • de Palisot de Beauvois, A.M.F.J. (1805). Insectes recueillis en Afrique et en Amérique dans les royaumes d'Oware et de Benin, à Saint-Domingue et dans les États-Unis, pendant les années, 1786-1797.
  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Balinsky, B.I. (1961). Observations on the dragonfly fauna of the coastal region of Zululand, with descriptions of three new species (Odonata). Journal Entomological Society Southern Africa, 24, 72-91. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1966). Check-list of dragonflies (Odonata) from Malawi, with description of a new Teinobasis Kirby. Arnoldia, 2, 1-24. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1966). Notes on African Odonata, particularly type material. Revue Zoologie Botanique Africaines, 73, 283-308. [PDF file]
  • Lieftinck, M.A. (1969) Odonates Anisoptères - Odonata Anisoptera. Explor. hydrob. Lac Bangweolo & Luapula 14 (4): 1-64, [PDF file]
  • Schmidt, E. (1951) Libellen aus Portugiesisch Guinea, mit Bemerkungen über andere aethiopische Odonaten. Arquivos Museu Bocage 20 (1949): 125-200 [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1970). Monographic study of the genus Trithemis Brauer (Odonata: Libellulidae). Memoirs Entomological Society Southern Africa, 11, 1-159. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909). Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. Odonata, 14, 1-52.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2018-03-21].