What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Gomphidae are a family of small to medium sized yellow and black, or brown and green dragonflies. The wings are clear without any markings and the head is rather broad laterally such that the compound eyes are well separated at the midline. Segments 7-9 of the abdomen may be enlarged in males, forming a club, although this is not present in all Australian species. Females do not have a complete ovipositor but the vulvar scale may be elongate. The larval antennae are 4-segmented (7-segmented in mature larvae of all other families). The protarsus and mesotarsus are 2-segmented in larval Gomphinae and all tarsi are 2-segmented in larval Lindeniinae (3-segmented in all other families). Larvae are bottom-dwellers and may bury themselves in sandy or muddy substrates. They mostly inhabit streams and rivers. The adults often perch on stones or on the ground, and when on vegetation they tend to keep the body horizontal rather than letting it fall vertically.

Two subfamilies are recorded in Australia. Lindeniinae is represented by three endemic species in the genus Ictinogomphus (distribution Africa, Asia, Australia). These are medium sized to large dragonflies that favour still waters: riverine lagoons, pools and ponds in the northern part of the country. One species ranges as far south as northern NSW. Males have a weak club and broad ventro-lateral plates on abdominal segment 8. Gomphinae is represented by 7 endemic genera and 36 spp. While some of these species are widespread many have a restricted distribution. Almost all breed in running water. Austrogomphus (15 spp.) is widely distributed with at least one species in any region, males typically are without a club, Austroepigomphus (4 spp.) and Antipodogomphus (6 spp.) are related to it. Hemigomphus (7 spp, north and east), Armagomphus (WA) and other smaller genera form a second group, separated by characters of the male epiproct and egg.

  • Austrogomphus guerini  larvae

  • Armagomphus armiger

  • Austrogomphus lateralis

  • Austrogomphus prasinus

  • Hemigomphus gouldii

  • Ictinogomphus australis