Family Gomphidae      Rambur, 1842


  • Africa and Eurasia

Africa   Africa

  • Currently 30 species are known but more species may well be found
Southern Africa
  • Five species visible in south Africa
General description:
  • Most often encountered among the Gomphids
  • The genus can be grouped into several different groups by features and preferred habitat 
    • The fritillarius group (named after a Madagascan species. Prefers (often large) rivers.
      P. sabicus and P. zambeziensis found in southern Africa
      Group is distinguished by the finely-pointed diverging cerci
    • The elpidius-group (named after P. elpidius, Corkscrew Hooktail)
      Inhabit exposed and/or large water bodies.
      P. elpidius found in southern Africa
      Has largely green thorax, parallel and blunt-tipped cerci, and relatively short epiproct.
    • The cognatus-group
      Favours sheltered streams, often or exclusively in forest.
      P. cognatus, P, genei 
    • Taxonomic affinities and precise preferences of the distinctive P. magnus, is 
Habitat and behaviour
  • Favours open and often large rivers, exposed and/or large water bodies and sheltered streams, often or exclusively in forest.
  • Species are shown in alphabetic order by common name
  • Only images of males are shown. Females are shown when Males are unavailable
  • To view images of female follow the menu links to the main description pages
  • Images of species that are available are shown
  • Click on all images to enlarge. 
Hooktail identification comparison Chart
Identification guide
A selection of images