26 August 2012

Violet Dropwing – Dhahran Hills

There are quite a few dragonflies about at the moment with the majority being Violet Dropwing. They spend most of their time perched on the grasses around the percolation pond and unless they fly they are quite difficult to see, despite their bright colours. The Violet Dropwing Trithemis annulata is easy to recognize due to its colour and the way it holds its wings. It has a total length between 32 and 38 mm with the males having a metallic purple vertex and frons (parts of head), red veins in their wings and a deep amber patch at the base of their hind wings. They have a plum-coloured abdomen and red eyes and are also known as Plum-coloured Dropwing. Immature males are at first yellowish, turning orange and then red before their final violet colour is obtained. The females are brown-yellow with yellow patches at the base of their hind wings and reddish eyes and have a white-yellow thorax, marked with strong black lines. They are active mainly during the summer months April to October with males perching on waterside grasses and plants and are very tolerant to heat. They favour standing shallow water and large pools and perch with their wings held down and during very hot periods also have their abdomen pointing vertically at the sun. They are native to tropical Africa and the coast of Mediterranean as well as the Middle East including Arabia.