Orthetrum sabina (Drury, 1770)
Slender Skimmer

Type locality: Guangzhou, China


Highly unusual Orthetrum with its black abdominal club appended on a stalk-like waist with three white rings. Male is structurally similar to O. trinacria by hamule with prominent ridge on anterior border with hook well-separated from it, profile of hamule thus 3-pointed, hook being middle point. However, differs by (1) being restricted in Africa to dry regions of north and north-east; (2) relatively smaller size, Hw 28-33 mm; (3) Abd club-shaped rather than elongate, S7-10 thicker than S4-6; (4) anterior lamina with dense tuft of bristly orange hair; (5) never pruinose; (6) cerci pale rather than dark. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Standing waters and (headwater) streams in open landscapes. Often with a soft (like muddy) bottom and probably quite tolerant, e.g. of brackish water. From 0 to 1000 m above sea level, but mostly below 400, although sometimes up to 1500.


confirmed: Algeria; Chad; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Libya; Morocco; Socotra (Yemen); Somalia; Sudan; Tunisia

© Robert Ketelaar

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.


  • Longfield, C. (1936) Studies on African Odonata, with synonymy and descriptions of new species and subspecies. Transactions Royal Entomological Society London 85 (20): 467-498 [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1931). A list of the Odonata of British Somaliland and a description of a new species of the genus Enallagma. Entomologist, 64, 274-278. [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1955). The Odonata of N. Angola. Part I. Publicacoes culturais Companhia Diamantes Angola, 27, 11-63. [PDF file]
  • Calvert, P.P. (1899). Neuropterous insects collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in Northeastern Africa. Ecological Entomology, 51, 228-244. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. http://addo.adu.org.za/ [2018-03-25].