Trithemis apicalis (Fraser, 1954)
Furtive Dropwing


  • scientific: Anectothemis apicalis; Porpacithemis trithemoides Fraser, 1958

Type locality: Busu-Moto, DRC


Male is similar to T. leakeyi by (a) labrum often largely black; (b) Fw discoidal field partly of 2 cell-rows; 3 cell-rows between anal loop and tornus; (c) no cell-doublings in radial planate (count those cells touching Rspl, but not IR3) [0-1]; (d) arculus often at Ax2 or distal to it, especially in Hw; (e) Hw base clear, yellow or brown, colour is usually brown if it extends beyond Cux; (f) venation largely dark, brown to black, like veins of Pt; (g) hamule with posterior border humped, hook thereby shortened; (h) Abd largely black, often with some pale markings, appears blue pruinose or black with maturity; (i) cerci of normal proportions, ventral angle lies 1/3 of cercus length from apex. However, differs by (1) larger size, Hw 25-30 mm; (2) dorsum of frons glossy black rather than pale with black basal band; (3) Abd slender, S4 over 4x as long as wide; (4) at most S1-3 deep blue pruinose, like thorax. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters, mostly in open areas in forest. Often boggy or with blackwater, a sandy bottom, and probably emergent vegetation and coarse detritus. From 300 to 1300 m above sea level.


confirmed: Angola; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gabon; NOT confirmed: Cameroon

Male & female © Nicolas Meziere

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; Democratic Republic of Congo, Province Orientale, East of Isangi © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Female; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, piste à droite avant africa n°1 (direction franceville) © Mézière, Nicolas

Male; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, Plateau Batéké - vallée de la Léconi © Mézière, Nicolas, ANDRE GUENTHER,JENS KIPPING, RAIK MORITZ, HANNES KRAHNSTOEVER

Male; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, piste à droite avant africa n°1 (direction franceville) © Mézière, Nicolas

Adult, male; Angola, Uige Province, Negage © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, female; Angola, Uige Province, Negage © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • Fraser, F.C. (1954). Further notes and descriptions of new species of Libellulidae from tropical Africa. Revue Zoologie Botanique Africaines, 50, 252-268. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-19].