Order ODONATA Fabricius, 1793


  • About 50 species in Africa and Eurasia

Africa   Africa

  • Currently 11 species. 
  • The placement of about ten Afrotropical species in Onychogomphus is dubious and all are likely to be allocated to other genera in the near future.
  • Probably only the four North African species represent the true genus Onychogomphus.
  • At least seven species belong to the distinctive supinus-group, recognised by the male’s four-pronged epiproct and double-toothed cerci. Unfortunately they are rarely collected, leaving their taxonomy unresolved:. Identification is now based largely on markings and the female head structure, and males of some cannot be reliably separated.
  • In some regions where the group occurs it is unclear which species is present, e.g. in eastern Zimbabwe probably one of the paler and in southern Malawi one of the darker taxa. Whether the true O. supinus occurs outside South Africa is unclear.
  • Please click here for a full description of this genus 
Southern Africa
  • Five species visible in south Africa
General description:
  • Members of this group are medium-sized (hindwing 24-32 mm)
Habitat and behaviour
  • Inhabit streams and smaller rivers, often in highlands, both in open landscapes (pale species) and forest (dark ones). Males perch low on bank-side rocks or vegetation.
Identification guide
  • Only images of males are shown
  • To view images of female follow the menu links to the main description pages
  • Click on all images to enlarge. 
  • Images of species that are available are shown
A selection of images
Identification guide

Click HERE for an identification guide for Clubtails based on images of the thorax and eyes

Learn more about southern African Clubtails