Platycypha cf. caligata (Selys, 1853)
Malawi Jewel


  • scientific: P. caligata (Selys, 1853) f. “lacus” Pinhey, 1982

Type locality: Lake Malawi, Malawi


This form confined to Lake Malawi is potentially a distinct species. Male is similar to typical P. caligata by (a) humeral and metapleural stripes narrow, about as wide as hind femur is thick, black of mesepimeron usually clearly dissected by pale ‘posthumeral’ stripe; (b) sides of S1-3 and thorax reddish; (c) Abd at least blue on S6-10; (d) at most S2-5 with apical black bar; (e) paraprocts less than half as long as cerci (lateral view). However differs by (1) only on rocky shores of Lake Malawi; (2) smaller, Hw 18-19 mm rather than 20-24 mm; (3) tibiae narrow, outer dilation of hind tibia 1-2x as wide as shaft, rather than 2-4x; (4) with age, dorsal blue markings on S2-3 become rufous and S4-5 become largely black, rather than S2-5 all remaining blue. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Large lakes in open landscapes. Often splash zones, usually with rocks, and probably submerged roots, dead trunks or branches and/or coarse detritus. Recorded at around 400 m above sea level.


confirmed: Malawi

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.


  • Barnard, K.H. (1937). Notes on dragon-flies (Odonata) of the S. W. Cape with descriptions of the nymphs and of new species. Annals South African Museum, 32, 169-260. [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1959). The Odonata of N. Angola. Part II. Publicacoes culturais Companhia Diamantes Angola, 45, 13-42. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2017-11-20].