Great Hooktail,     Paragomphus magnus   Groothakiestert

100 1784 Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 1

107 519 Great Hooktail 1 2


Short Description:

Great Hooktail, Paragomphus magnus, Groothakiestert is fairly large sized, blackish with a bright green thorax marked with two bright yellow bands with three dotted lines in between and a distinct yellow ring on segment 7. No foliages

Family Gomphidae         (Rambur, 1842)

More images:

100 1785  Ndumu Mch 2017r 3Image Gallery

100 1804 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 1Male









Key identification features:


  • Face is yellow with black moustache running across the upper labrum. 107 520 Great Hooktail 1 3  100 1804 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 1 
  • Eyes are a dull turquoise colour. Frons has two eyebrows like black stripes. 107 520 Great Hooktail 1 3
  • Thorax is bright yellowish green with sharply defined blackish brown stripes.  100 1804 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 1
  • 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. 100 1805 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 2Appendages noticeably yellow with blackish tips. 107 521 Great Hooktail 1 4


  • Female is similar in colour, stockier in overall appearance. 
Distribution and habitat:
  • 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.
  • From 0 to 900 m above sea level.
  • Tends to hunt from open branches and twigs higher above ground. Often turning to same perch.
Compared with other species:
  • Similar to Flapper Hooktail, Paragomphus sabicus125 501 Flapper Hooktail Male KZN RSA Dec 2017r 3  Gomphidia quarrei (Southern Fingertail) 100 1749 Gomphidia guarrei Southern Fingertail Male1 Melkrivier LP RSA JDec 2017r 1 Ictinogomphus ferox (Common Tigertail) 100 1494 Ceratogomphus pictus Common Thorntail Male Hertzogberg MP RSA Nov 2017r 4  Onychogomphus supinus (Lined Claspertail) 100 1765 Onychogomphus supinus Lined Claspertail Male Melkrivier LP RSA Dec 2017r 4 and P. sabicus (Flapper Hooktail)100 1907 Paragomphus sabicus Flapper Hooktail Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 1
  • 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.
  • Foliations 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
Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Distribution Map July 2020










South Africa:

  • Previously thought to be vagrant species in South Africa. It has now been found at several localities in Mpumalanga and Northern KZN. 


  • Kenya; Mozambique; Republic of South Africa; Tanzania; Zimbabwe
Further reading and other information:

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


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