Family Synlestidae Tillyard, 1917


  • scientific: Chlorolestidae Fraser, 1951; Nubiolestidae Bechly, 1996


Family recalls Lestidae in general appearance and rest posture, but the species are more spectacular in appearance and biogeography. The ten genera and nearly 40 species have a relict distribution with clusters of species occurring in Australia, the southern tip of Africa and the mountains of southern Asia. A single genus and species confined to the Caribbean island Hispaniola has also been assigned to the family. They are often large metallic green species, sometimes with conspicuously banded wings. The seven species of Chlorolestes are restricted to southern Africa, two species of Ecchlorolestes to the Cape Region, and the monotypic Nubiolestes to the Lower Guinea. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Distinctive family in southern Africa with combination of (a) 2 Ax; (b) R4 and IR3 originate (approximately) at subnode; (c) proximal supplementary cross-vein between median vein and R4 present (recognisable by lacking adjoining cross-vein anterior of R4); (d) arculus halfway between base and node, or more distal; quadrilateral without cross-veins; (e) median vein straighter, at most zigzags well distal to subnode; (f) most cross-veins aligned with Px (only less so near wing border), venation ordered like squared mesh; (g) anal vein usually originates at or distal to arculus. Shares this character set only with genus Amanipodagrion from Tanzania but differs by (1) thorax often marked with metallic green, rather than just with black; (2) R4 originates at subnode, IR3 originates 1-2 cells further distal; (3) cubital vein distinctly arched forward (rather than being rather straight) at distal corner of quadrilateral. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

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.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-15].