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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) | Aeshnidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Aeshnidae

Descriptive Features:

  • prementum flat, lying below head when closed, without setae
  • premental ligula generally without, rarely with, 1 small tubercle each side of well developed median cleft
  • labial palps with or without distinct palpal setae
  • end hook present or absent on palps, no spine at base of movable hook, dorsal surface of movable hook distinctly setose
  • antennae 7-segmented
  • eyes generally much larger, not much larger than rounded, unarmed postocular lobes
  • tarsi of all legs 3-segmented
  • abdomen segments 7-10 with lateral spines
  • all terga rather evenly arched
  • epiproct only slightly tapered, rather narrow and parallel sided, with apex distinctly bifid
  • Total length: 30 - 60 mm
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera
    Agyrtacantha dirupta (Karsch, 1889) (nymph unknown)

    Distribution: Australia wide

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 4

    Functional Feeding Group: predators

    Ecology: Adults are commonly known as 'hawkers'.
    Instream habitat: Aeshnid larvae inhabit a wide range of well vegetated still waters and sometimes flowing water such as, temporary streams, sluggish streams, lakes, permanent ponds, riverine pools and slightly brackish waters. Gynacantha also inhabits pools in caves. Hemianax papuensis is one of Australia's most abundant dragonflies, being found throughout the continent.
    Feeding ecology: Larvae are predators that either actively stalk prey or cryptically hunt by ambush. They prey upon the larvae of mayflies (Ephemeroptera), midges (Diptera: Chironomidae), or adults and larvae of beetles (Coleoptera) and bugs (Hemiptera). 
    Habit: The adults are both vagrants and nomadic.
    Life history: Aeshnidae species prefer still waters for breeding. Females lay their eggs into aquatic plant tissue. Eggs may take up to 14 days to hatch. The newly hatched prolarvae undergoes its first moult in seconds to hours after hatching. Larvae undergo 8 - 14 instars. The larval phase may last from 41 - 176 days and is temperature dependant. Adults live for a minimum of 12 weeks with the adult life span of temporary pond species tending to be longer. Many adults are migrants that disperse over large distances. The longer time spent as an adult allows for greater dispersal. Aeshnidae species can be uni-, bi-, semi-or multivoltine.
    Information Sources: Thesichinger & Endersby 2009, Theischinger 2002, Watson & O'Farrell 1991, Theischinger & Hawking 2006, Balla & Davis (unpub.) 
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