Gynacantha (A) africana (Palisot de Beauvois, 1807)
Giant Duskhawker


  • scientific: G. quadrina McLachlan, 1896

Type locality: West Africa, no locality data available.


Male is similar to G. villosa by (a) rim of metastigma black, contrasting with colour of thorax; (b) wings may be tinted, but without distinct subcostal rays; (c) mainly 4-5 rows in fork of IR3; (d) largely 2-3 cell-rows between R2 and R3 proximal to Pt; (e) brace veins absent; (f) anal triangle of 3-6 cells; (g) S3 waisted near base; (h) cerci widened and sharply cut-off at end, and with distinct ventral lump near base (lateral view); (i) inner border of cerci bisinuous, concave roughly 2/3 from base. However, differs by (1) ranging from Uganda to W Africa; (2) 28-37 Ax in Fw, rather than 22-28; (3) at least partly 3 rather than 2 rows between R2 and R3 proximal to Pt; (4) ventral carinae S4-6 bare, rather than with denticles. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Standing and probably often temporary waters shaded by forest. Probably often with coarse detritus and a soft (like muddy) bottom. From 0 to 800 m above sea level, but possibly up to 1200.


confirmed: Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Liberia; Nigeria; Republic of Guinea; Sierra Leone; Togo; Uganda

Male © Hans-Joachim Clausnitzer

Female © Gerhard Diedericks

Appendages (dorsal view)

Abdominal segment 2 (ventral view)

Thorax (lateral view)

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.

Barcode specimen(s):

Female; Gabon, Haut-Ogoué, "chemin" en forêt © Mézière, Nicolas, ANDRE GUENTHER,JENS KIPPING, RAIK MORITZ, HANNES KRAHNSTOEVER

Female; Liberia, Grand Bassa County, Buchanan © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Sierra Leone, Eastern Province, Gola Forest © Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & A. Dayeker

Male; Cameroon, Littoral Province, Douala-Edéa Reserve © Dijkstra, K.-D.B., & K. Schuette

Male; Cameroon, Centre Province, Yaounde © Dijkstra, K.-D.B., J. Kipping & K. Schuette


  • de Palisot de Beauvois, A.M.F.J. (1805). Insectes recueillis en Afrique et en Amérique dans les royaumes d'Oware et de Benin, à Saint-Domingue et dans les États-Unis, pendant les années 1786-1797. Fain et Compagnies, Paris, 1-276.
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1962). Some records of Odonata collected in tropical Africa. Journal Entomological Society Southern Africa, 25, 20-50. [PDF file]
  • Martin, R. (1907). Odonates de la Guinée espagnole. Memorias Sociedad espanola Historia natural, 1, 421-432. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-05-29].