Family Gomphidae      Rambur, 1842

  • Two species in southern Africa. One endemic to southern Africa
    • Cape Thorntail. C. triceraticus is confined to the southern Cape area of South Africa Flag of South Africa.svg
    • Common Thorntail C. pictus in countries mostly south of the equator
General description:
  • Medium-sized (hindwing 28-30 mm) dragonfly with milky thorax bands and yellow costa contrasting with black pterostigma that recall Crenigomphus, but the modified abdominal segment 10, foliation on segment 8 only and distinct anal loop suggest Phyllogomphus is the genus’ nearest relative.
Habitat and behaviour
  • Both species inhabit open and calm pool-like sections of streams and rivers, and often perch on the ground or rocks.
  • C. picta also easily colonises a body of water confined within an enclosure, as a reservoir, which is unusual for gomphids (Clubtails).
Identification guide
  • Only images of males are shown
  • To view images of female follow the menu links to the main description pages
  • Click on all images to enlarge.
A selection of images: Thorntails
Identification guide
Images of southern African Clubtails


Genus Ceratogomphus Distribution Map AfricaGenus Distribution Map