Sympetrum dilatatum (Calvert)

Saint Helena Darter (Sympetrum dilatatum)

This dragonfly species was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it was the largest member of its genus.

The island of Saint Helena has not much free-running freshwater, thus the habitat for the dragonfly has always been very limited.

The dragonfly’s habitat was apparently completely destroyed due to the introduction of New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) to the island. The plant was introduced sometimes in the 1850s to establish a flax industry, which was especially prospering from the beginning of the 20th century to 1966, when the last flax mill was finally closed. The New Zealand Flax, however, proved to be highly invasive and is still covering tremendous areas of Saint Helena’s mountains today.  

The Saint Helena Darter was last recorded in 1963 and is now considered extinct.


syn. Diplax dilatata Calvert



Depiction from: ‘Collections Zoologiques du Baron Edm. De Selys Longchamps; Catalogue systematique et descriptive: F. Ris: Libellulines Vol. II. Fasc. 12-14. 1911-1912’

(not in copyright)


edited: 29.05.2021