Protoneura capillaris ( Rambur, 1842 ),

Ellenrieder, Natalia Von & Garrison, Rosser W., 2017, A synopsis of the Neotropical genus Protoneura (Odonata: Coenagrionidae), Zootaxa 4361 (1), pp. 1-76: 18-20

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Protoneura capillaris ( Rambur, 1842 )


Protoneura capillaris ( Rambur, 1842) 

Figs. 6View FIGURES 5–8 (♂ habitus), 30 (♀ habitus), 52 (♀ mes. plate), 76 (gen. lig.), 102 (♂ app.), 119 (map)

Agrion capillare Rambur, 1842: 280–281 (description of ♂).

Protoneura capillaris  —Selys in Sagra (1857: 200, 471, pl. 18, fig. 2; transference to new genus and subgenus Protoneura  , illustration of wing);—Selys (1860: 461 [reprint 33]; redescription of ♂ from Cuba);— Gundlach (1888: 218, 219; Cuba, description of color pattern of ♂ and ♀);—Selys (1886: 212–213; redescription of ♂, description of ♀);— Williamson (1915: 619, 623–625, Fig. 6View FIGURES 5–8; in key, notes on variability, illustration of wings);— Calvert (1919: 349; Gundlach record);— Westfall (1964a: 73; Cuba);— Westfall (1964b: 111–113, 115–117; Figs. 2, 4View FIGURES 1–4, 6, 8View FIGURES 5–8, 10, 12View FIGURES 9–12; illustrations thorax, ♀ mesostigmal plates, and ♂ S10, diagnosis from P. viridis  );— Alayo (1968a, b: 73, figs 28B, 39D, 42F, 42G; key to Cuban species, records, illustrations of ♂ wings, head and thorax, and S10);— Paulson (1982: 260; Cuba);— Flint (1996: 18; Cuba);— Trapero-Quintana & Naranjo-López (2003: 26, 27; Cuba);—López del Castillo et al. (2004: 230; Cuba);— Paulson (2004: 176; listed as range restricted);—Trapero-Quintana et al. (2004: 17; Cuba, with notes on biology);— Trapero-Quintana et al. (2005: 225–231; oviposition behavior);— Westfall & May (2006: 431–437, Figs. 222, 223B, 224A, 226A; in key to northern representatives of genus, characterization of adults, illustrations of larval habitus, prementum, and caudal lamellae, ♂ thorax and S10, ♀ pronotum and mesostigmal plates);—Trapero-Quintana & Naranjo- López (2004: 180; in key for Cuba);— Deler et al. (2007: 454; Cuba);— Trapero-Quintana & Torres-Cambas (2008: 26; Cuba);— Muñoz et al. (2009: 499; Cuba);— Paulson (2009c; IUCN assessment);— Pessacq (2008: 514, 516, 527, Figs. 2D, 4GView FIGURES 1–4; in phylogenetic analysis, illustrations of wing, ♂ S10);— Trapero-Quintana et al. (2010: 105; emergence distance);— Garrison et al. (2010: 379, 381, fig. 2516; illustration ♂ S10);— Trapero-Quintana et al. (2012: 140, 143, 144; larval habit and morpho-functional type);— Meurgey (2013: 300, 305; distribution);— Torres-Cambas et al. (2015: 2–5, 9, 12, 13; distribution, evaluation of threatened status);— Lorenzo-Carballa et al. (2016: 2, 3, 5–7; relationships based on molecular analysis).

Primary types. Holotype ♂: Cuba [ RBINS, ex collection Guérin-Méneville ]. 

Specimens examined. 14 ♂ 4 ♀: CUBA, Pinar del Rio Prov  .: 1 ♂, Las Ammas, 27 iii 1939 [ FSCA]; Artemisa Prov.  : 1 ♂, Soroa (22°47'39'' N, 83°0'38'' W), 5 xii 1994, O.S. Flint Jr. [ USNM]; Holguín Prov.GoogleMaps  : 1 ♂, Sierra Nipe, Piloto River {20°28' N, 75°49' W, 600 m}, 6 vii 1990, M. Ivis leg. [ FSCA]; Cien Fuegos Prov. GoogleMaps  : 2 ♂, Atkins Botanical Garden, Soledad {22°7' N, 80°19' W}, 29 v –6 vii 1959, M.J. Westfall Jr. [FSCA]; 1 ♂, same data but [RWG]; Sancti Spiritus Prov.GoogleMaps  : 4 ♂, Manacal, Topes de Collantes (21°55'12'' N, 80°1'48'' W, 748 m), viii 2011, Y. Torres leg. [ACR]; Santiago de Cuba ProvGoogleMaps  .: 2 ♂ 2 ♀, Santiago de Cuba {20°1' N, 75°49' W}, 24 v 1945, Ward's Natural Science expedition leg. [ UMMZ]GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂ 1 ♀, same data but [ CSCA]GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂ 1 ♀, same data but [RWG]GoogleMaps  ; 2 ♂, Dos Bocas (20°5'23'' N, 75°45'55'' W, 192 m), 4 i 2007, Y. Torres leg. [ACR].

Characterization. Male: Epicranium and dorsum of thorax and abdomen except base of S3–6 and most of S7 black with metallic blue-purple reflections; pale colors pale blue and yellow ( Fig. 6View FIGURES 5–8). Pronotum black with anterior margin of anterior lobe and lateral margins of middle lobe pale blue. Mesepisternum black; mesepimeron pale blue with ventral and dorsal edges black; metepisternum light blue margined posteriorly with black; metepimeron pale yellow. Coxa and trochanter pale yellow, outer surface of femur pale blue, remainder of leg pale brown; tibial spurs shorter than twice intervening spaces. Genital ligula lacking lateral lobes and with a straight distal margin, with laterodistal corners of distal segment projected ventrally ( Fig. 76View FIGURES 71–78). Cercus longer than S10 length, about as long as paraproct, longer than wide in lateral view, with a longitudinal split along dorsal portion of external surface, delimiting a medial sclerotized branch that ends on a strong tooth directed medioventrally ( Fig. 102aView FIGURES 100–102); remainder of cercus foliaceous, medially concave, with a small triangular tooth at ventrobasal edge, and a long, curved thick pointed tooth at mediobasal edge directed medioposteriorly, preceded by a smaller pointed tooth ( Fig. 102b, cView FIGURES 100–102). Paraproct longer than S10 length, at midlength narrowing to half its basal width and with tip widened and medially concave ( Fig. 102View FIGURES 100–102). TL 33.5–38.5; Hw 15–17.6.

Female: As male but dark areas metallic green with copper reflections, except for metallic blue-purple labrum, postclypeus and dorsum of S2; pale areas yellow; pale on S7 limited to small basal spot; posterior lobe of pronotum yellow; mesepimeron mostly green with yellow limited to ventroposterior edge; metepisternum yellow margined dorsally and posteriorly by green; outer surface of femora yellow with basal 1/2 to 1/3 black to brown; pruinescence present on inner surface of legs and venter of thorax; pale lateral area of S9 extended dorsally medially to about 2/3 of segment height ( Fig. 30View FIGURES 29–32). Middle lobe of pronotum with pronounced lateral depressions (as in Figs. 67a, c), posterior lobe directed anterodorsally, entire and smoothly convex. Mesostigmal plate upright and inflated, with anterior and posterior surfaces convex and dorsal margin narrowly carinate, almost touching opposite plate anteromedially; paired mesepisternal swollen protuberance almost as high as mesostigmal plates located between their posteromedial corners (Fig. 52). TL 33–36.5; Hw 18.2–20.5.

Diagnosis. Male cercus morphology, with a medial sclerotized branch that ends on a tooth directed medioventrally and remainder of cercus foliaceous, medially concave, with a small triangular tooth on outer ventrobasal edge, and a long, curved thick pointed tooth at medial ventrobasal edge directed medially ( Fig. 102View FIGURES 100–102), is shared with P. caligata  , P. dunklei  , P. sanguinipes  , and P. viridis  ( Figs. 100View FIGURES 100–102; 106; 113; 117). Within this group, P. capillaris  resembles P. caligata  and P. viridis  by the medial sclerotized branch of male cercus ending on a tooth directed medioventrally located at cercus tip ( Figs. 100View FIGURES 100–102; 102; 117) and by distal margin of genital ligula straight with laterodistal corners projected ventrally ( Figs. 74View FIGURES 71–78; 76; 93); in P. dunklei  and P. sanguinipes  the medial branch ends on a broad triangular tip located at about midlength of cercus ( Figs. 106View FIGURES 106–108; 113), and distal margin of genital ligula is convex triangular with laterodistal corners not projected ventrally ( Figs. 80View FIGURES 79–84; 87). Protoneura caligata  differs from males of all four species by pale blue color of thorax and abdomen ( Fig. 6View FIGURES 5–8), which is orange or yellow in the other four species ( Figs. 4View FIGURES 1–4; 10; 17; 21), and by second tooth on ventro medial margin preceding long basal tooth ( Fig. 102bView FIGURES 100–102 vs. Figs. 100bView FIGURES 100–102; 106b; 113b; 117b). Female can be distinguished from all congeners by its upright inflated mesostigmal plates, with both anterior and posterior surfaces convex (Fig. 52a); P. viridis  also has upright mesostigmal plates adjacent to paired mesepisternal protuberances, but the plates are only slightly convex posteriorly and concave anteriorly (Fig. 67b).

Habitat and biology. Trapero-Quintana et al. (2004) reported adults flying slowly among branches of shoreline vegetation of mountain torrents in Cuba, males perching on sun-lit leaf tips, females ovipositing while still in tandem on stems, fallen leaves, or woody tissue at water level, and larvae found in very shallow pools covered with abundant vegetation. Trapero-Quintana et al. (2005) provided a detailed study of oviposition behavior. The female selects floating objects such as twigs, leaf petioles, pieces of bark, fruits of Spondias (Anacardiacea)  , or partially submerged liana roots, and oviposits in them bending its abdomen between its open wings, still in tandem with male, who continues to beat its wings. They documented copulation taking place between 10:30–15:00 with a peak between 12:00–13:30, during which time several pairs usually oviposited simultaneously, with a marked decrease of activity in overcast weather. Sperm transfer and copula were not observed, and were presumed to occur away from the water in the vegetation ( Trapero-Quintana et al. 2005). The larva was illustrated by Westfall & May (2006), but it has not yet been formally described. Trapero-Quintana et al. (2010) determined that emergence distance from water surface does not surpass 10 cm, and Trapero-Quintana et al. (2012) found larvae in lentic permanent, lentic temporary, and lotic habitats, typically with filtered insolation provided by gallery forests, and characterized them as climbers-graspers of rocks and vegetation.

Distribution. Endemic to Cuba ( Fig. 119View FIGURES 119–120). Assessed as Data Deficient by IUCN ( Paulson 2009c); Torres- Cambas et al. (2015) suggested reassessing it as Vulnerable.


Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology


California State Collection of Arthropods














Protoneura capillaris ( Rambur, 1842 )

Ellenrieder, Natalia Von & Garrison, Rosser W. 2017

P. viridis

Westfall 1964


Selys in Sagra 1857