Genus Gomphus Leach, 1815

Type species: Libellula vulgatissima Linnaeus, 1758


For an introduction to this genus, please refer to: Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & R. Lewington, 2006. Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320.


Medium-sized dragonflies with a yellow to greenish body, marked with black. The almost uninterrupted yellow line running from S1 to S7, or even S10, is distinctive. The hindwing lacks an anal loop, thus an uninterrupted perpendicular vein connects the subtriangle and the hind margin. The abdomen is thickened to a club shape, but lacks leaf-like lateral flaps. The male’s upper appendages are rather short (about equal to S10) and clearly diverge. The lower is only slightly shorter, and its branches are largely eclipsed by the uppers when viewed from above. The short, splayed, eclipsing appendages are unique in NW Africa. Males of the large Lindenia and small Paragomphus bear abdominal flaps and have very long, parallel upper appendages. Onychogomphus have an anal loop, and incurved upper appendages that do not eclipse the parallel branches of the lower appendage. Moreover, the Onychogomphus male appendages are long and pincer-like, and the abdomen appears ringed or spotted, rather than striped. When seen poorly, particularly in flight, females and immatures of some libellulids, particularly Orthetrum cancellatum, resemble Gomphus, but these have their eyes touching each other. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

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.


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B., and Lewington, R. (2006). Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2017-03-26].