100 2402 Onychogomphus supinus Lined Claspertail Male Songimvelo Nature Reserve MP RSA Febr 2019r 3 100 1763 Onychogomphus supinus Lined Claspertail Ezemvelo1 River Dec 2016r 1 107 516 Onychogomphus supinus Lined Claspertail Young Male RSA Dec 2017r 2

Lined Claspertail   Knypstert

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Short description:

Lined Claspertail, Onychogomphus supinus, Genus Onychogomphus, Family Gomphidae fairly large sized, pale bluish green, yellowish green and dark brown with a narrow reddish brown club.

Key identification features:


  • Face is all pale greyish yellow to green. The upper surface of frons is yellowish with strong black basal band with diagonal black line joining the top margin of the labrum to the upper margin of the clypeus. Head is dark brown above, yellow at the back.
  • Eyes are light blue above, whitish below.
  • Thorax is slightly bluish pale yellow above, pale yellowish green at sides.  2 thin blackish lines on side of thorax diagnostic. Dorsal thorax pattern well defined brown with curve starting broad at base that narrows at the hind margin turning to join the humeral stripe Handle -like curved marking from the center line broad in middle joining with indistinct edge in outer side and joining the neck at front margin. Yellow stripe between wings5
  • Wings are clear, with the costa bright yellow, some veins brown while others are black.
  • Pterostigmas is fairly short (3.5 mm long), light yellowish brown with thick black veins.
  • Abdomen has blackish brown and yellow partial rings, becoming greenish at sides. Segments 8 to 10 is dark brown to rusty orange, last two thirds of s 10 yellow. S 8 and 9 are very swollen, bearing very narrow foliations that are yellow basally with black margin.
  • Superior appendages are very long,straight and stout. Inferior appendages very fine, dark, upwardly curved with two fine prongs (teeth-like) when viewed from side. May protrude past superior appendage


  • Females are very similar, stouter, with yellow and less dark body markings.
  • Wings smokier especially in the basal area.

Compared with other species:

  • Similar to Icterogomphus ferox (Common Tigertail), Paragomphus magnus (Great Hooktail), and Paragomphus sabicus (Flapper Hooktail).  The major differences are in the claspers with O. supinus having inferior appendages that are very fine, upwardly curved with two fine prongs when viewed from side. I. Ferox inferior appendages curves upwards to touch the superior appendages. P. magnus has very large superior appendages with the tips curving back to almost face S10.
  • The abdominal stripes, dorsal thorax and the markings on the side of the thorax are diagnostic in the mentioned species.
  • P. magnus has no foliage’s, I ferox has large dark foliations on s 8. P. sabicus has large foliations on s 8 with smaller on s 9.
  • The white bands on the thorax and abomen markings of female O. supinus may easily be misidentified with Ceratogomphus pictus (Common Thorntail)
  • Thorax markings may be misidentified with Crenigomphus hartmani (Clubed Talontail)
  • Differs from other Crenigomphus and Paragomphus by a 2 celled anal loop
  • Males are  a distinctive inside tooth on the lowerclasper

Distribution and habitat:

  • Found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province with an isolated record in Gauteng Province.
  • Prefer rivers and streams in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest, especially faster sections (rapids, falls), usually with rocks. Occur from 100 to 1900 m above sea level, but mostly between 500 and 1700.


  • Perches on boulders in the rivers and on grass stems on the bushy banks.
  • Female lives mostly away from the water and is therefore very rarely seen

Further reading and other information:

Distribution Map Books:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.122
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa p. 138
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 129
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa … p 136
Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 665640
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram
Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly,  Damselfly
Map of South Africa



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