Family Gomphidae Rambur, 1842


  • scientific: Lindeniidae Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905


Clubtails are relatively uniform in appearance, lacking the bright colours of other families: black, brown, yellow and green predominate, although the eyes are often blue (if not green). However, they vary strongly in the structure of the male appendages. Members of the family are easily recognised by their separated eyes. Most species inhabit rivers and streams, where adults can be elusive and furtive, while larvae are easier to find. Worldwide almost 90 genera and 1000 species are known, making it the largest anisopteran family just behind Libellulidae; under a sixth of this diversity is Afrotropical. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Similar to other anisopteran families by the Hw base broader and with different venation than Fw base, but differs from the rest by having the eyes widely separated by a ridge-like occiput, rather than in contact. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Crenigomphus hartmanni (Förster, 1898). Male © Hans-Joachim Clausnitzer

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.


  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909). Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. 1. Odonata 14, 1-52.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-25].