Sympetrum fonscolombii (Selys, 1840)
Red-veined Darter or Nomad


  • scientific: S. fonscolombei
  • vernacular: Nomad (Africa), Red-veined Darter (Europe)

Type locality: France, no locality data available.


The only species currently recognised in this genus in sub-Saharan Africa. Please refer to the genus diagnosis and introduction for more information. For the identification of this species north of the Sahara, please refer to: Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & R. Lewington, 2006. Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320.

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes, but sometimes in open areas in forest. Often with emergent and aquatic vegetation and probably bare banks. From 0 to 230 m above sea level, but mostly below 1600, although possibily even higher up.


confirmed: Algeria; Angola; Botswana; Cape Verde; Chad; Egypt; Ethiopia; Gambia; Kenya; Lesotho; Libya; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; Socotra (Yemen); Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania; Tunisia; Uganda; Western Sahara; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Eritrea; Niger; Republic of Guinea; Rwanda; Senegal; Swaziland

Male (mature) © Warwick Tarboton

Male (young) © Damian Pinguey

Abdominal segment 2 (lateral view)

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.

Barcode specimen(s):

Adult, female; South Africa, Western Cape, Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, male; South Africa, Western Cape, Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, male; South Africa, Western Cape, Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • de Sélys-Longchamps, E. (1840). Monographie des libellulidées d'Europe. Librairie Encyclop. de Roret, Paris, 1-220.
  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1917). Odonaten aus Abessinien, Ost- und Westafrika. Arkiv Zoologi, 11, 1-27.
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1966). Check-list of dragonflies (Odonata) from Malawi, with description of a new Teinobasis Kirby. Arnoldia, 2, 1-24. [PDF file]
  • Barnard, K.H. (1937). Notes on dragon-flies (Odonata) of the S. W. Cape with descriptions of the nymphs and of new species. Annals South African Museum, 32, 169-260. [PDF file]
  • Calvert, P.P. (1899). Neuropterous insects collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in Northeastern Africa. Ecological Entomology, 51, 228-244. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909). Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. Odonata, 14, 1-52.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-04-20].