Genus Neodythemis Karsch, 1889


  • scientific: Oreoxenia Förster, 1899 [ouvirandrae = hildebrandti]; Pseudophlebia Martin, 1903 [trinervulata]; Allorrhizucha Karsch, 1890 [klingi]; Allorhizucha; Mesumbethemis Vick, 2000 [takamandensis]

Type species: Neodythemis hildebrandti Karsch, 1889


Endemic to the Afrotropics, ten species occur from western Uganda and northern Zambia to western Africa, including three species formerly placed in Allorrhizucha. Another four species were described from Madagascar. All are fairly small (hindwing 22- 31 mm) black-and-yellow dragonflies found perching by flowing waters, mostly in forest. Only N. klingi and N. preussi are recorded frequently, the first preferring sandy or gravelly streams (sometimes small rivers), the second more muddy or swampy ones. N. klingi is replaced by N. campioni on rivers in western Africa, and N. preussi by N. katanga at forested springs in the grass- and woodlands south of the central African rainforests. The other species are also localised: N. afra favours seepages and N. infra blackwater swamps on sandy soils in central Africa, while N. fitzgeraldi is confined to streams on the plateaus of Katanga and adjacent northern Zambia. N. munyaga and N. nyungwe are each known from a single montane forest in the Albertine Rift and more species may await discovery there. The large and peculiar N. takamandensis was first described in its own genus Mesumbethemis and is only known from single sites in Cameroon and Gabon. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Male of genus is similar to Micromacromia by (a) size, Hw 20-31 mm; (b) Fw supratriangle with 1-2 cross-veins [0-2]; (c) Fw triangle and subtriangle usually of 1 cell, rarely both 2; (d) Fw discoidal field of 1-2 rows at base; (e) Fw discoidal field of 1-2 rows at base; (f) 9-18 Ax in Fw; (g) bridge spaces with 2-4 cross-veins [1-4]; (h) Hw triangles often with 1 cross-vein, as may Fw triangles; (i) always 1 cell-row in radial planate; (j) 2-4 Cux in Hw; (k) anterior denticles on hind femora pointed, directed towards apex of femur; (l) hamule with small, blunt, fingerlike or concealed hook, as well as with longitudinal ridge (ventral view), with hook bent inwards, lying in horizontal plane, in lateral view often concealed; (m) S7 with conspicuous pale mark, which is more prominent than any marking on S6 (invisible when covered by pruinosity). However, differs by (1) Fw discoidal field of 1 (rather than 2) cell-row at base; (2) anal loop of 3-6 (rather than 7-15) cells [3-8]; (3) hamule with anterior cleft. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Neodythemis afra (Ris, 1909). Male © 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.


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B., and Vick, G.S. (2006). Inflation by venation and the bankruptcy of traditional genera: the case of Neodythemis and Micromacromia, with keys to the continental African species and the description of two new Neodythemis species from the Albertine Rift (Odonata: Libellulidae). International Journal of Odonatology, 9, 51-70. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1964). Some new Odonata from West Africa. Bulletin Institut francais Afrique, 26, 1144-1153. [PDF file]
  • Vick, G.S. (2000). Mesumbethemis takamandensis gen. nov., spec. nov., a new genus and species of the Tetrathemistinae from Cameroon, with a key to the African genera of the subfamily (Anisoptera: Libellulidae) Odonatologica, 29, 225-237. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2017-03-24].