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)

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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.
Comparison Chart

Click Here for a detailed comparison chart for the 5 Hooktail species seen in southern Africa

Compared with other species:
  • Differences in claspers and foliations. Southern Fingertail, Gomphidea quarrei has no foliations and short slender upper appendages with a very short lower appendage. Lined Claspertail, Onuchogomphus supinus have inferior appendages that are very fine,  100 1775 Onychogomphus supinus Lined Claspertail Male Melkrivier LP RSA Dec 2017r 24  upwardly curved with two fine prongs when viewed from side Common Tigertail, Ictinogomphus.ferox has inferior (lower) appendages that curves upwards to tough the superior appendages and large foliations below S 8.   100 1202 Ictinogomphus ferox Common Tigertail Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018r 23 Great Hooktail, Paragomphus magnus has very large superior appendages with the tips curving back to almost face S10 and no foliations. Flapper Hooktail, Paragomphus sabicus has superior appendages that are long, slender and gently curved, yellow with brown tips with no foliages  100 1915 Paragomphus sabicus Flapper Hooktail Male Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2018r 23
  • 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
Visually Similar Species
Related Species - Hooktails
Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Distribution Map July 2020Distribution Map
South Africa

Physical Map South Africa Physical Map,
South Africa

Political Map South Africa Political Map
South Africa

Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Africa Distribution Map July 2021Distribution Map

Physical Map AfricaPhysical Map

Political Map AfricaPolitical Map



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: