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


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Gomphidae

Descriptive Features:

  • without external caudal gills, BUT with 3 conspicuous substantial spine-like or triangular processes at tip of abdomen, forming anal pyramid surrounding anus
  • antennae 4-segmented, usually flattened, but early instar antennae have less than 4 segments
  • prementum flat or nearly so, lacking setae
  • labial palps not broadened distally, lying below head when closed, without spine at base of movable hook
  • larvae usually stout, abdomen much longer than wide
  • fore and mid tarsi 2-segmented
  • hind tarsi 3-segmented
  • Total length: 13.5 - 37.0 mm  
    • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera


      Distribution: Australia wide

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 5

      Functional Feeding Group: predators

      Ecology: Adults are commonly known as 'clubtails'.
      Instream habitat: Gomphid larvae generally inhabit clear rapid or sluggish streams and rivers as well as lakes and isolated riverine pools in rainforest, inland and coastal regions. Some species may be found in temporal streams. The larvae are found in mud, coarse sand and gravel often below leaf litter.
      Feeding ecology: Larvae are predators feeding on other small dragonfly larvae, water mites, mayfly nymphs and chironomid larvae.
      Habit: Gomphid larvae burrow deeply into the substratum.
      Life history: Females lay their eggs at dusk. Gomphidae species are one of the few groups of dragonflies which can emerge from horizontal surfaces. They do not need to hang from a stalk or tree to emerge. Adults have been collected in late November to early January.
      Information Sources: Theischinger & Endersby 2009, Theischinger 2000, Houston 1988, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Peterson 1993, Theischinger & Hawking 2006
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