Horned Talontail, Crenigomphus cornutus, Puntige Knypstert

Short description:

Horned Talontail, Crenigomphus cornutus is fairly large sized, marked with dull yellow and brown stripes and no foliations.

Family Gomphidae Rambur, 1842

  • Due to the rarity in South Africa no images are available yet
Key identification features:


  • Face and head above yellow with some traces of brown.
  • Eyes greyish blue in front, light brown behind, with some indistinct dark horizontal stripes.
  • Thorax yellow with faint brown stripes.
  • Wings slightly smoky. Pterostigmas of medium length (3.5 mm), narrow,black.
  • Abdomen long and narrow with dark brown narrow ring at each segmental joint, inside view each ring with a distinct dark brown dash running forwards on each of segments 3 to 7 on yellow, yellow background forming a line along sides of abdomen. Foliations absent. Segments 8 to 10 of similar length. S 10 swollen club. Superior appendages solid, curved and rounded. Curved toward each other in dorsal view, with wide space between them, straight in side view. Inferior appendages with dorsal teeth near apex, and wide notch (hooked) between very short branches. The hooked inferior appendages diagnostic


  • Similar to male
  • Stouter, pterostigmas slightly longer.
  • Habitat is fast savanna rivers and streams with grassy margins. From 900 to 1400 m above sea level, but possibly down to 300.
  • It flies in grassland near flowing water, frequently settling on grass stems and other prominent vegetation.
Compared with other species:
  • Lack of foliations distinguish it from the more common Crenigomphus hartmanni
  • Paragomphus  magnus has no foliage’s 100 1805 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 2 .
  • Major differences are in the claspers with O. supinus having inferior appendages that are very fine, upwardly curved with two fine prongs when viewed from side 102 566 Lined claspertail r 2 102 567 Lined claspertail r 3
  • I. Ferox inferior appendages curves upwards to touch the superior appendages. 100 1202 Ictinogomphus ferox Common Tigertail Male Close up Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018r 23 P. magnus has very large superior appendages with the tips curving back to almost face S10. 107 521 Great Hooktail 1 4
  • The abdominal stripes, dorsal thorax and the markings on the side of the thorax are diagnostic in the mentioned species.
  • P. magnus has no foliage’s 100 1805 Paragomphus magnus Great Hooktail Male Ndumu Mch 2017r 2 .
Crenigomphus cornutus Horned Talontail Distribution Map May 2020








  • Only been recorded in South Africa from the southern Kruger National Park.


  • Recorded in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zamia, Zimbabwe with Mozambique  as possible. 
Further reading:

Odonata Atlas of Africa Number 664620
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species  Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online

Credit: M J Samways & John P. Simaika.  Manual of Freshwater Assessment for South Africa:Dragonfly Biotic Index