Rhyothemis semihyalina ssp. syriaca Selys

Lake Hula Phantom Flutterer (Rhyothemis semihyalina ssp. syriaca)

The Phantom Flutterer (Rhyothemis semihyalina (Desjardins)) is very widely distributed on the African continent. The species is sometimes split into several subspecies of which some may be valid and others not. 

The form that formerly inhabited the Hula Valley in Israel was described as a distinct subspecies in 1850, it is thought of as having been a Pleistocene relict form. This alleged subspecies is said to differ from the nominate in having the black spots on the hindwings more reduced, leaving a narrow hyaline fringe along the posterior border of the wings. Structurally, however, both subspecies are identical. [1]


The complete drainage of Lake Hula as well as of the swamps associated with this lake in 1958 led to the extinction not just only of this endemic dragonfly form.


nominate race

Photo: Julien Renoult



[1] H. J. Dumont: Endemic dragonflies of Late Pleistocene age of the Hula Lake area (northern Israel), with notes on the Calopterygidae of the rivers Jordan (Israel, Jordan) and Litani (The Lebanon), and description of Urothemis edwardsi hulae subspec. nov. (Libellulidae). Odonatologica 4(1):1-9. 1975


edited: 12.01.2019