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Wall’s Grappletail

Heliogomphus walli
fjd,aia .%emaf,fÜ,a
thy;]; ¢whg;gy;nla;y;
Fraser, 1925 Endemic

Male All four endemic Sri Lankan Heliogomphus species

are very rare and share very similar charactistics. H.
walli has well separated eyes, a medium sized body,
with a slender abdomen and rounded whitish anal
appendages shaped in a specific way (insert) that makes
this species distinct from the others.

Female Differs little from the male; has yellow coloured

bifid anal appendages.

Abdomen 36-38mm Wing 31-36mm

Habitat It inhabits fast flowing streams with waterfalls

and surrounding forest, occasionally found also in
streams between tea plantations. Rare. Endemic.

Sri Lanka Forktail
Macrogomphus lankanensis
YS% ,xld f*dlafÜ,a
= yq;fh /Nghh;f;nla;y;
Fraser, 1933 Endemic

Male Abdomen is mostly black with yellow on surface

of segments 1 and 2 including auricles, small spots on
3 to 6, a large band on 7 and 8 with two angular bands
almost touching in center. The most noticeable and key
to its identity are segments 8 and 9, 8 being broad and
long and 9 a long narrowing extension of 8. Segment
10 is black, very short, followed by fork-shaped anal
appendages which are creamy yellow with black tips

Female Not described by scientists but is very similar

to the male.

Abdomen 45mm Wing 33mm

Habitat Believed to be widespread, the species inhabits

rivers, bigger streams and occasionally also irrigation
channels in lowlands and mid-hills. Rare. Endemic.
Globally endangered.

Wijaya’s Scissortail
Microgomphus wijaya
úchdia isi¾fÜ,a
å[a]; ¤]h;nla;y;
Lieftinck, 1940 Endemic

Male Smallest of the Sri Lankan Clubtail dragonflies.

Apart from size, it is easily recognized by well separated
green eyes, black body with yellowish green markings
and specifically branched anal appendages that are
black and yellow in colour.

Female Similar to male except with lighter green

markings; abdominal segments 8 to 10 and anal
appendages are black.

Abdomen 25mm Wing 21-23mm

Habitat The species inhabits rivers and streams with

rich surrounding vegetation in mid-hills. Rare. Endemic.
Globally endangered.

Rivulet Tiger
Gomphidia pearsoni
ßjqf,Ü ghs.¾
wpt;êyl; ilfh;
Fraser, 1933 Endemic

Male The very large size, dark green eyes and extensive
black colouration with bright yellow markings on head,
thorax and abdomen expanded from segment 8 and
tapering to anal appendages are unmatched in any
other Sri Lankan species.

Female Has not been described.

Abdomen 60mm Wing 42mm

Habitat Pools of moderately fast to slow flowing streams

and rivers in the mid-hill primary rainforest and some
surrounding less disturbed areas. Rare. Endemic.
Globally endangered.

Rapacious Flangetail
Ictinogomphus rapax
/fmaIshia *a,eka.fÜ,a
wNg~]; /ßshd;[;nla;y;
(Rambur, 1842)

Male Well separated bluish-grey eyes, black body with

yellow markings and very conspicuous black leaf-like
lateral expansions of eighth abdominal segment are
useful characters of the male.

Female Similar in colour but lacks the lateral expansions

at the end of the abdomen.

Abdomen 50-52mm Wing 55-60mm

Habitat Weedy tanks, ponds and channels in the

lowlands and mid hill areas. Common locally.

Hawkers (Aeshnidae)
Hawkers deserve their name because of their
powerful predation skills, speed and elegance in air.
They are also called darners in reference to their
long needle-like abdomens. All six species found in
Sri Lanka show wider distribution. Vagrant Emperor
Anax ephippiger occurs as far as central Europe and
Fiery Emperor
Anax immaculifrons
*shß tïmr
/gpawp vk;ngwu;
(Rambur, 1842)

Male Very large dragonfly with beautiful blue eyes,

greenish-blue thorax striped with black and turquoise
blue (insert); abdomen is black with orange-yellow

Female Lacks the bluish-colouration having more

greenish-yellow markings on thorax, and abdomen
mixed with black.

Abdomen 52-56mm Wing 55-60mm

Habitat Streams, sluggish brooks and occasionally lakes

in the mid-hill to upper-hill region. Rare.

Elephant Emperor
Anax indicus
t,s*kaÜ tïmr
vypgd;l; vk;ngwu;
Lieftinck, 1942

Male Unmarked leaf green thorax and distinct green-

blue-black-yellow colour of abdomen will help identify
the species. Very similar to commoner Anax guttatus in
which yellow pattern on abdomen is paler and not as
extensive, forming well separated lateral spots on last
abdominal segments. Also the anal appendages of both
sexes are different.

Female Similar to male with the leaf green thorax

being the distinguishing feature.

Abdomen 56-62mm Wing 50mm

Habitat Pools and tanks in the dry zone. Rare.

Vagrant Emperor
Anax ephippiger
je.arkaÜ tïmr
thf;udl; vk;ngwh;
(Burmeister, 1839)

Male Unmarked leaf green thorax and distinct green-

blue-black-yellow colour of abdomen will determine
this large species.

The species has been traditionally placed in the genus

Hemianax. It is known for its migratory habits and occurs
from Central Europe throughout the Mediterranean,
northern Africa, western Asia, India and Sri Lanka.

Female Similar to male, dull brownish coloured. Smaller

in comparison to its congeners, with only very pale
blue saddle on second abdominal segment, without any
distinct yellow markings on abdomen or green on the

Abdomen 40-42mm Wing 44-46mm

Habitat Shallow tanks and marshes in Dry zone. Very



Indian Duskhawker
Gynacantha dravida
bkaÈhka vialafydl¾
,e;jpad; l];f; N`hf;fu;
Lieftinck, 1960

Male Appears at dusk flying rapidly around muddy swamps

and tank edges. Its colour is mostly dull brown mixed
with patches of green and has a distinct constriction in
the abdomen at segment 3, with auricles at segment
2; superior anal appendages are long feather-like
projections with tiny hairs on inner surfaces; inferior
appendages have a cone shape (insert).

Female Colouration similar to male; abdomen less

constricted at segment 3; hind wing rounded; female
appendages and parts of ovipositor breaks and anal
appendages can appear short and square.

Abdomen 48-51mm Wing 45mm

Habitat Muddy edges of low country tanks. Appears at

dusk and dawn. Uncommon.

Dark Hawker
Anaciaeschna donaldi
vdla fydl¾
lhu;f; N`hf;fu;
Fraser, 1922

Male Head reddish brown, face and frons are turquoise

blue, with dark blue eyes (juvenile is pale yellowish).
The prothorax and thorax are dark reddish-brown with
two broad blue stripes, rest of body dark brown and two
leaf–shaped anal appendages will identify the species.

Female Differs strongly from adult male in colouration.

Has a very dull light brown face, like the juvenile male,
thorax has greenish yellow stripes, and short leaf-like
anal appendage. In females, wings can be beautifully
enfumed with amber brown.

Abdomen 50mm Wing 44mm

Habitat Swampy bogs, ponds and marshes in the

mountains, especially in Nuwara Eliya surroundings.
Very rare.


Emeralds (Corduliidae)
Two genera with three endemic species from this
family of medium to large size dragonflies are found
in Sri Lanka. They have emerald eyes when matured
and a metallic green or blackish body with yellow
markings. Emeralds are restless flyers and are only
rarely seen when at rest; usually hanging vertically
suspended from a branch.
Blue-eyed Pondcruiser
Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala
í¨ whsia fmdkaâl%Di¾
g;@-ma;l; nghd;l; f;&]u;
(Hagen, 1867) Endemic

Male Large size and swift flight along the edges of ponds
and tanks is one clue to the identity of this species.
Head is large with globular blue eyes and metallic
blue frons and vesicle making it easy to spot. Body is
reddish-brown with a metallic dark green sheen.

Female Similar to male except wings have an amber tint

basally and has short blunt anal appendages. Female
oviposits along weedy edges of tanks or running water
in small canals. When resting it hangs down under the

Abdomen 52-58mm Wing 50-55mm

Habitat Along edges of jungle near large tanks from wet

low lands, hills and dry zone. Uncommon. Endemic

Sri Lanka Cruiser
Macromia zeylanica
YS% ,xld l%Di¾
= yq;fh f;&]u;
Fraser, 1927 Endemic

Male Green eyes and yellow markings on face and

frons; metallic blue-green and yellow in the middle
of the thorax with some stripes of yellow on sides;
abdomen black, marked with yellow on dorsal and basal
surfaces of segments 2 and 3, and a robust sharp spine
on segment 10; Its relative M. flinti is much smaller
(abdomen length 38mm), and it does not have yellow
antehumeral stripes.

Female Has not been described.

Abdomen 38mm Wing 33mm

Habitat Found along fast moving streams with gravel

edges or sandy bottoms in hill areas. Rare. Endemic.

Chasers, Perchers,
& Skimmers (Libellulidae)
This highly diverse group exhibits a variety of colours,
wing patterns and shape and size of abdomens. Males
are often brightly coloured in shades of red or pruinosed
blue, whereas females are less conspicuous and rarely
seen with mostly yellow and brown tones. Altogether
40 species of Chasers, Perchers and Skimmers live in
Sri Lanka. They have a wider distribution in India and
SE Asia; only three are endemic in Sri Lanka. Because
of their vivid appearance and habit of perching for a
long time, they make great objects for observation
and photography.
Fruhstorfer’s Junglewatcher
Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi fruhstorferi
*areiafgd*¾ia cka.,afjdp¾
/g;&];Nuhgu|;]; [q;fps;; thl;r;ru;
(Karsch, 1889) Endemic

Male Slow flying, protected by vegetation along

mountain streams, this medium sized dragonfly has a
long thin abdomen marked with black and light blue.
Green eyes, metallic blue frons and vesicle on otherwise
pale cream coloured face are identifying features of
this species.

Female Similar to teneral males. They have a gomphid-

like appearance with black and yellowish markings on
the abdomen, and have lateral expansions on segment
8. Other characters are similar to male.

Abdomen 23-28mm Wing 30mm

Habitat The species sits on vegetation at edges of slow

streams or seepages in submontane areas. Very rare.
Endemic. Globally endangered.


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