DragonflyPix

Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra)

[ Show Info• Scientific name: Selysiothemis nigra (Vander Linden, 1825)
• English name: Black Pennant
• German name: Teufelchen
• French name: Sélysiothémis noir
• Dutch name: Windvaantje
• Swedish name: N/A
• Norwegian name: N/A
• Finnish name: N/A
• Danish name: N/A
• Typical length: 30-38 mm
• Hindwing: 24-27 mm
] | [ Show MapDistribution mapBlack Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra)
Map data based on Kalkman, V. J. & J.-P. Boudot (eds.), Atlas of the Dragonflies of Europe (in prep.)
]

The Black Pennant wasn't known to occur here in Tuscany until we found and photographed it in July 2005. It's a very small dragonfly with a disproportionately large head. Selysiothemis nigra is a rare species in Europe with a very patchy distribution in Greece, the Balkans, Italy and Iberia. Mature males are uniformly black in colour, although they do develop a whitish pruinescence on their thorax and abdomen. [More recently we have noticed mature males with a reddish-brown base colour, especially on the side of the thorax.] Immature males and females have a sandy-brown thorax and abdomen with extensive black markings. The species' most distinguishing features are the size of the wings (they're very large and broad for such a small dragonfly) and the shape of the pterostigma, which resembles an equals sign. Copulation takes place in flight over the water and - unlike in Crocothemis and in Trithemis species - can be a fairly long drawn-out affair. Afterwards the couple keeps flying in tandem, at a steady pace and seldom stationary, while the female dips her abdomen in the water every few seconds to release her eggs.

Line DrawingLineDrawing: the female's wings in dorsal view.

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PhotoID: Dr272 17/08/2012 08:03 Italy F8 1/320 180mm ISO100 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr273 13/08/2011 17:19 Italy F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr280 13/08/2011 16:14 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr281 17/08/2012 08:53 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr286 19/08/2013 10:45 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO400 Canon7D +Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr287 10/07/2005 10:14 Italy F5.6 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon10D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr289 13/08/2011 17:35 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr290 17/08/2012 08:58 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr300 10/08/2007 10:46 Italy F5.6 1/160 180mm ISO100 Canon30D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr301 12/07/2005 12:56 Italy F5.6 1/180 180mm ISO100 Canon10D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr302 29/06/2012 13:49 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr303 29/06/2012 14:51 Italy F8 1/640 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr322 25/08/2011 08:50 Italy F9 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr323 25/08/2011 08:57 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr324 02/07/2007 11:01 Italy F8 1/80 180mm ISO100 Canon30D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr325 02/07/2007 12:10 Italy F5.6 1/125 180mm ISO100 Canon30D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr326 17/09/2012 13:28 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr327 25/08/2011 09:22 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr328 27/08/2011 10:44 Italy F8 1/1250 180mm ISO400 Canon7D +Crop -Flash MF
PhotoID: Dr432 13/08/2011 17:43 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF