Common Thorntail.    Ceratogomphus pictus    Gewone Doringstert.

By Lappies

100 1122 Ezemvelo GP RSA Dec 2015r 1

100 1124   Common Thorntail Female Ezemvelo Dec 2015

Family Gomphidae Rambur, 1842

Short description:

Common Thorntail, Ceratogomphus pictus, Gewone Doringstert is medium sized yellow, greenish yellow and brownish black, with a narrow club formed mostly by large foliations at the end of the abdomen. It has a sharp, forward-pointing dorsal spike (thorn, hence the name Thorntail) on the last abdominal segment.

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Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Images

 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Male

 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male  Male

Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail FemaleFemale

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Key identification features:

Male: 

  • Face yellow, labrum yellow with three black transverse lines. Clypeus light yellow. Frons greenish yellow with two black bands running across in front. Head black above with central yellow dot, back of head yellow with black margin . 100 1500 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 14
  • Eyes dark greyish blue above and light greyish blue below. 100 1500 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 14   100 1495 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 8
  • Thorax has white, greenish yellow to yellow stripes, with brown diagonal stripes separating the yellow/white stripes. Dorsal abdomen with smooth tiger-like stripes. 100 1495 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 8
  • Wings clear, with faint greenish tint and prominent yellow costa. Pterostigmas of moderate length (4 mm), black.
  • Abdomen has series of broken black and yellow rings on the abdomen with narrow strait foliations on S 8. The foliations have a diagnostic thin black line on the lower border. There is a strong forward pointing spike on s 10 that folds into s 9 when the abdomen is held straight rendering the spike invisible. When s10 is held in a downward pointing posture the spike is clearly visible. Claspers short black with yellow. Lower clasper club-like, sharply curved upwards with dark protrusion on lower half  100 1505 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 27  
  • A dark variant is also found.

Female:

  • Brighter with smaller foliations and no spine on S 10. S 9-10 downwards curved. 100 1556 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 19   100 1555 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Female Wilgerivier MP RSA Nov 2017r 18
  • A dark variant is also found.
Compared with other species:
  • Ceratogomphus triceraticus, Cape Thorntail   108 507 Ceratogomphus triceraticus Cape Thorntail Male Kogelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015   is larger in size and overall darker than C. pictus (Common Thorntail) which is more yellow. Black markings on thorax, abdomen and foliation are considerably darker in C. triceraticus.
  • The yellow thorax stripes, abdominal markings can be confused with Lined Claspertail (Onychogomphus supinus) and Clubbed Talontail (Crenigomphus hartmanni). Correlate identity with the club and clasper structures
Distribution and habitat:

Distribution Map May 2020Found all provinces except dry areas of Northern Cape Province Prefers open margins of large and small water bodies, streams,
rivers, standing waters in open landscapes and open areas in forest.
Often with rocks and a gravelly and/or sandy bottom, probably especially calm sections (like pools) with coarse detritus.
Also easily colonises newly created trapped bodies of water (unusual for Gomphids).
From 0 to 2100 m above sea level, but mostly between 700 and 1900.

Behaviour:
  • It perches on the ground, frequently rests on bare patches of soil or on a small boulder.
Further reading:

Websites
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664550
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species

 
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