Problems in Chlorocypha classification: four cases from West Africa and a discussion of the taxonomic pitfalls (Odonata: Chlorocyphidae)


The taxonomy of Chlorocypha species is problematic due to variability and the paucity of morphological characters. Subspecies radix of C. glauca is raised to specific rank. C. sharpae is found to be a synonym of C. luminosa. The synonymy of C. jejuna with C. luminosa is rejected. The former species is similar to the Southern African C. consueta and differences are stated. C. dispar ovulosa, Libellago dispar fraseri and C. mutans are synonyms of C. pyriformosa, although the lost type series of fraseri appears to have been contained immature specimens of C. dispar. Trends in African chlorocyphid variation, subsequent taxonomic pitfalls and suggested guidelines to deal with them are discussed. The main problems are age and environment related melanization intensity, dark patterns caused by reversible temperature-induced colour change, especially in tenerals, and the switch between reddish and bluish colours, in species with bicoloured abdomens.

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