100 1418 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Ezemvelo Oct 2017r 5 117 607 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail 100 1419 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Ezemvelo GP RSA Jan 2016r 2

Rock Hooktail.     Kliphakiestert.

Paragomphus cognatus  (Rambur, 1842)

Also known as Boulder Hooktail, Riffle Hooktail

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Images Male Male Female Thorax Pattern
100 604 Male Ezemvelo Jan 2016 r 1 of 1 100 1467 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Close up Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 3 100 1465 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 3 100 1484 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 1 100 1472 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 17
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Short description:

Paragomphus cognatus, Rock Hooktail, Genus Paragomphus, Family Gomphidae, is medium sized, light green, dark brown and yellow with a dark brown and yellow abdomen, with reddish brown club (foliations).

Key identification features:

Two forms exist. A lighter form mostly is seen in the northern region and a darker form  primarily in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN areas but, records of the darker form exist form the Limpopo and northern region. The dark form tends to lack the green colour of the light form, the yellow is much darker and the brown tends towards black.

Male:

  • Face is mostly all yellow but lighter yellow to white in the lighter northern form. Labrum is yellow with central brown spot and blackish brown basal line, which is strong in darker coloured Western Cape form. Clypeus yellow, Western Cape form may have two dark brown crescent-shaped markings on postclypeus.100 1474 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 19  100 1469 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 8 Frons is yellow with diffuse brown band in front, which can be bold and distinct in Western Cape form.Head is black with yellow spots above (all black in Western Cape form), back of head yellow.
  • Eyes light greenish grey. 100 1474 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 19
  • Thorax is bright yellow to greenish yellow with dark brown stripes, in Western Cape form the brown stripes in the lower region of thorax may be pruinescent. 100 1466 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 7 Dorsal thorax pattern indicate a long neck birdlike pattern when looked at from the from with a dark brown spot at the "head of the bird followed by a short bullet like pattern ending at the neck.100 1469 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 8 100 1472 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 17
  • Wings clear, sometimes slightly smoky in Western Cape form. Pterostigmas black, 3.75 mm long. 
  • Abdomen alternately black and yellow with large foliations on segments 8 and 9, foliations yellow with strong blackish brown margins. S 2 lateral view Brown with  "V" shaped mark. This may be a "cross" shape when young. Superior appendages are long and down-curved, with blackish brown tips. Inferior appendages are curved and knobbly, divergent at their tips when viewed from above. 100 1479 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 32  100 1481 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 38 100 1480 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 39 100 1481 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 38

Female: 100 1484 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 1

  • Female has similar head, 100 1487 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 7 thorax 100 1485 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 3 , body colour and patterning  100 1484 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 1, wings smokier and can be highly smoky in Western Cape form, abdomen stouter, foliations very narrow. 100 1489 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 9 100 1490 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 8
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to Common Hooktail (P. genei). 100 1886 Paragomphus genei Common Hooktail Male Close UP Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 3  100 2503 Paragomphus genei Common Hooktail Male Close UP Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 47  100 2503 Paragomphus genei Common Hooktail Male Close UP Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 47 Claspers do not curve outwards at the tip. P. cognatus, claspers curve outwards 100 1480 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 39 100 1481 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 38  at the tip. Corkscrew Hooktail, P. elpidius, upper claspers are much longer than the bottom claspers. Top claspers curl in toward the abdomen at the tips.
  • All the Hooktails have different shaped foliations. Common Hooktail (P. genei).  100 2503 Paragomphus genei Common Hooktail Male Close UP Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 47  P. cognatus  100 1480 Paragomphus cognatus Rock Hooktail Male Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 39
Distribution and habitat:
  • Widespread and common in South Africa. A dark formis present in the western cape
  • Frequents sandy or gravel margins of rivers, streams, pools perching on rocks or bare gravel ground close to the water's edge.
Behaviour:
  • Perching on rocks or bare gravel ground near water
Further reading:
Paragomphus cognatus, Rock Hooktail Books:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... P 124
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... P 134
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... P 133
Dragonfly Biotic Index … p. 124

Websites:

Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 665740
Warwick Tarboton
WaterbergBioQuest
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Morphology of a Dragonfly  and Damselfly
Map of South Africa
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