Family Calopterygidae Selys, 1850


Demoiselles or jewelwings are easily recognised by their large size, metallic colours and broad, densely veined wings. All species prefer running waters with (some) shade. About twenty genera and 185 species are known, of which only three genera and less than a tenth of the species occur in tropical Africa. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Similar to Chlorocyphidae by (a) 3 or more Ax; (b) arculus halfway between base and node, or more proximal instead of distal; (c) quadrilateral with 1-9 cross-veins. However, differs by (1) face not swollen; (2) abdomen slender, reaches well beyond wing tips; (3) quadrilateral with 5-9 cross-veins. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Sapho gloriosa McLachlan, 1873. Male © Andr?® G??nther

Umma saphirina Förster, 1916. Male © Adolfo Cordero

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.


  • Ris F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909). Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. 1. Odonata, 14, 1-52.

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