SOUTH AUSTRALIA Five Grasswren Trip

During our very busy five days driving 2800 km up the Birdsville Track and back, there was very little time to look for odes. I managed just one stop: about 20 minutes on 19 Nov at Brachina Creek in Flinders National Park (right). Even then I was often distracted by birds or wallaroos, but I photographed the following odonates.

I came up with some tentative identifications based on web research, and these have now been graciously confirmed by Dennis Paulson (many thanks).

This tiny and colorful damselfly reminded me of several forktail (Ischnura) species in California. I believe it is a male Ischnura aurora, which appears to be widespread in Australasia and southeast Asia. In Australia it is apparently called Aurora Bluetail, but in Thailand it goes by Golden Dartlet. Given that it is an Ischnura, the better name is Aurora Forktail.

This female damsel, found nearby, seems likely to be a female Ischnura aurora.

The remaining odonates were perching dragonflies in the family Libellulidae. All of the ones that I photographed appear to be widespread Australian species.

Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum; it reminded me very much of Western Pondhawk Erythemis collocata in California


Several odes recalled meadowhawks Sympetrum in California. This bright red one, with unmarked abdomen, red pterostigma, and slight orange wash at base of lower wing, may be Scarlet Percher Diplacodes haematodes.


This one also has an unmarked abdomen and touch of orangey wash at base of lower wing. Although it looks female-colored, it appears to show male appendages, and may be an young male Scarlet Percher. If so, then I would expect that both the abdomen and the pterostigmas, currently yellow, will become bright scarlet as it matures.

  This red one is rather similar to the above Scarlet Percher, but note the series of black spots atop the abdomen segments, and also dark dots on the sides of the abdomen. This may be another widespread species in the same genus, Wandering Percher Diplacodes bipunctata. It is a male whose wings are getting rather tattered, so presumably it is old and wearing out.  

A female Wandering Percher D. bipunctata. This species occurs not only in Australasia, but throughout southeastern Asia, west to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. Note the yellowish wash on the outer wings on this species, below the yellow pterostigmas.

Introduction & Five Grasswrens
November 2009
page created 29 Nov 2009
© Don Roberson 2009