100 1784 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 1 107 518 Geat Hooktail1 r 1 107 523 Great Hooktail r 3

Great Hooktail     Groothakiestert

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Short Description:

Great Hooktail, Paragomphus magnus, Genus Paragomphus, Family Gomphidae is fairly large, blackish with a bright green thorax and a distinct yellow ring on segment 7.

Key identification features:


  • Face is yellow with black moustache running across the upper labrum.
  • Eyes are a dull turquoise colour. Frons has two eyebrows like black stripes.
  • Thorax is bright yellowish green with sharply defined blackish brown stripes.
  • Wings are clear, black costas.
  • Pterostigmas black, 4.2 mm long.
  • Abdomen is largely black, with large, light yellow areas on segment 3, and wide ring of light yellow on first half of s  7. S  8 to 10 swell into a moderate club, foliations absent.
  • Appendages noticeably yellow with blackish tips.


  • Female is similar in colour, stockier in overall appearance.
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to Flapper Hooktail, Paragomphus sabicus, Gomphidia quarrei (Southern Fingertail), Ictinogomphus ferox (Common Tigertail), Onychogomphus supinus (Lined Claspertail) and P. sabicus (Flapper Hooktail).
  • Differences in the claspers. O. quarrei has no foliations and short slender upper appendages with a very short lower appendage. O. supinus have inferior appendages that are very fine, upwardly curved with two fine prongs when viewed from side. I. Ferox has inferior (lower) appendages that curves upwards to tough the superior appendages and large foliations below S 8. P. magnus has very large superior appendages with the tips curving back to almost face S10 and no foliations. P. sabicus has superior appendages that are long, slender and gently curved, yellow with brown tips.
  • Foliation varies in size colour or not present, This is a useful identification aid to differentiate between the different Gomphidae species.
  • The abdominal stripes, dorsal thorax and the markings on the side of the thorax are diagnostic in the mentioned species
Distribution and habitat:
  • Previously thought to be vagrant species in South Africa. It has now been found at several localities in Mpumalanga and Northern KZN.
  • Mostly streams, but also rivers, in open areas in forest or shaded by gallery forest. Often found at faster sections (rapids, falls) of rivers with rocks and a gravelly and/or sandy bottom. Found at lower elevations above sea level.
  • Tends to hunt from branches and twigs higher above ground. Often turning to same perch
Further reading and other information:
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ... p.124
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa p. 138
Dragonfly Biotic Index ... p. 127


Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 665840  
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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