18 May 2023

Violet Dropwing - Dhahran

Whilst birding the Dhahran Waste Water Pool recently I found a large number of Violet Dropwing Trithemis annulata, some of which would perch on the vegetation or other items available. Adult males are unmistakable with their bright body. This species ia also known as violet-marked darter, purple-blushed darter or plum-coloured dropwing. This is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae and is found in most of Africa, in the Middle East, in the Arabian Peninsula and southern Europe. These insects are called dropwings because of their habit of immediately lowering their wings after landing on a perch. Males of this species are violet-red with red veins in the wings while females are yellow and brown. Both sexes have red eyes. It is a robust medium-sized species with a wingspan of 60 mm. The mature male has a dark red head and eyes with the prothorax being violet and the membranous wings having distinctive red veins. The abdomen is fairly broad and is pinkish-violet, with purple markings on the top of each segment and blackish markings on the terminal three segments. It is very similar in appearance to the red-veined dropwing Trithemis arteriosa, but that species has a more slender abdomen and a wedge-shaped black area on either side of the tip of the abdomen. It is an adaptable species, and the adults are able to tolerate a range of habitats including semi-arid rangeland. They can be seen flying near sluggish rivers, in marshes and also beside still-water ponds. Males are often to be seen perching on the twigs of waterside shrubs and on rocks in the sunshine, but in the evening or when the sun is obscured, they move into trees. It is a very common species throughout its wide range which includes most of Africa, the Mediterranean area, the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East.