Dragonflies: Crocothemis nigrifrons

Damselflies Austroagrion cyane Austroagrion watsoni Austroargiolestes calcaris Austrocnemis splendida Austrolestes annulosus Austrolestes aridus Austrolestes cingulatus Austrolestes io Austrolestes leda Austrolestes psyche Coenagrion lyelli Hemiphlebia mirabilis Ischnura aurora Ischnura heterosticta Pseudagrion microcephalum Xanthagrion erythroneurum Dragonflies Anax papuensis Archaeosynthemis orientalis Austroaeschna ingrid Austroaeschna multipunctata Austroaeschna unicornis Austrogomphus guerini Austropetalia tonyana Austrothemis nigrescens Crocothemis nigrifrons Dendroaeschna conspersa Diplacodes bipunctata Diplacodes haematodes Diplacodes melanopsis Diplacodes trivialis Eusynthemis virgula Hemicordulia australiae Hemicordulia tau Notoaeschna sagittata Orthetrum caledonicum Parasynthemis regina Petalura gigantea Procordulia jacksoniensis Synthemis eustalacta Telephlebia brevicauda
distribution map
Source: ALA

♂ Beachport, SA

♀ SA

♀ SA
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Common Nameblack-headed skimmer
FamilyLibellulidae
Genus/SpeciesCrocothemis nigrifrons (Kirby, 1894)
Abundance &
Distribution
Common along northern coast and inland from the Kimberley to Newcastle. Rarely occurs south of Sydney but appears common at one spot every year near Mullins Swamp, Beachport, SA (where I first saw this species). Also found in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
HabitatInhabits a wide range of still and sluggish water, including exposed rivers and streams.
Description &
Identification
This is a medium sized dragonfly and mature males have a black head and thorax (giving them their common name) and the entire tail is bluish with pruinescence (a powdery material they develop). Mature females may also be somewhat pruinescent but are usually a fairly plain dull yellow with a thin, black dorsal stripe along the tail.
Similar SpeciesMales are very similar to Orthetrum boumiera, which is however a rare species localized around the coastal areas of the New South Wales–Queensland border regions. Male Orthetrum caledonicum can also be fairly similar but always have a black end to the tail.
Behaviour &
Observations
These may cohabit with Orthetrum caledonicum but male Crocothemis nigrifrons appear noticeably darker in flight. Males fly fairly low over water and perch frequently on flat surfaces, such as rocks. Both males and females also perch on vegetation near water, either horizontally or hanging vertically.
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Page Updated: 27-Oct-2016
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