Family Chlorocyphidae Cowley, 1937


  • scientific: Libellaginidae Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905


Jewels are instantly recognised by their clownesque snout, short abdomen and bright colours, especially reds and blues. Females of most species are dull, but males have dancing courtship and territorial displays in which they flaunt their colours. The family occurs only in the Old World tropics, but is absent from Madagascar and Australia. It comprises fifteen to twenty genera, the majority of which are Oriental. However, with almost 50 species, about a third of the family’s species diversity is Afrotropical. Species identifications should be based on mature males only. Immature specimens may have very dull and different colours and cannot reliably be identified. When cold, specimens also often appear duller, darker and blotchy. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Both sexes are easily recognised by the combination of a stout Abd that reaches about to wing tips, the swollen snout-like clypeus (face) and the dense venation with 3 or more Ax and quadrilateral cell with 1-3 cross-veins.

Chlorocypha pyriformosa Fraser, 1947. Male © Andr?® G??nther

Chlorocypha curta (Hagen in Selys, 1853). Male © Andr?® G??nther

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.


  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]

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