Paragomphus elpidius (Ris, 1921)
Corkscrew Hooktail

Type locality: Natal, South Africa


Male is similar to P. lacustris by (a) ocurring at streams, rivers and lakes in tropical Africa; (b) labrum pale, at most vaguely darkened at base; (c) thorax yellow to green with more prominent brown to black markings, that on metastigma ends just dorsal of it; (d) Pt brown, not contrasting with black veins; (e) S8-9 with broad foliations; (f) cerci less slender, apex blunt, without or with one tooth; (g) cerci without distinct ventral ridge; epiproct about 1/3 as long as cerci. However, differs by (1) relatively larger size, Hw 23-27 mm; (2) dark markings sharp, clearly delimiting pale postdorsal and antehumeral stripes; (3) cerci slender, apex rather blunt, without distinct tooth. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014; this diagnosis not yet verified by author]

Habitat description

Mostly rivers, but also streams, shaded by gallery forest, but sometimes in open landscapes. Often with rocks and a sandy bottom, probably especially faster sections. From 0 to 1400 m above sea level, but mostly between 200 and 1100.


confirmed: Botswana; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kenya; Malawi; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Mozambique; Swaziland

Male © Wil Leurs

Appendages (dorsal view)

Appendages (lateral view)

Head (front)

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):

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Female; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Adult, male; Zimbabwe, Manicaland, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1966). Check-list of dragonflies (Odonata) from Malawi, with description of a new Teinobasis Kirby. Arnoldia, 2, 1-24. [PDF file]
  • Fraser, F.C. (1949). Gomphidae from the Belgian Congo (order Odonata). Revue Zoologie Botanique Africaines, 42, 101-138. [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. [2024-07-25].