What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

Logo: What Bug Is That? Logo: Taxonomy Research & Information Network



Synlestidae are a family of large, metallic green or bronze-black damselflies inhabiting running streams along the eastern seaboard and into the ranges including alpine areas, but not extending to Tasmania. The wing venation is similar in many respects to Lestidae, excepting that the anterior sector of the arculus branches nearer to the nodus, and vein Cu, where it leaves the discoidal cell, makes a strong curve forward before resuming its course toward the outer wing.

There are three genera and seven species. Synlestes are large, with a long abdomen, metallic green in colour with some yellow on the thorax, or else bronze-black with yellow markings. The caudal appendages are dark. Episynlestes , even longer in the abdomen, are less common and restricted to forests along the Dividing Range. All are steely black but with long, white caudal appendages (quite reminiscent of those in the very, very much smaller Hemiphlebiidae). Chorismagrion risi (north Qld rainforests) is a smaller damselfly, more compact and not very brightly coloured. This species is remarkable for having the forewing arculus open, as in the very much smaller Hemiphlebiidae, and it is missing any intercalary veins in the distal part of the wing. However, it has the prominent forward bulge in Cu of all synlestids. The larvae of Chorismagrion have the general appearance of synlestid larvae but can be distinguished by a pair of dark stripes that run the length of the body. The mentum is deeply cleft; the gills are short and rounded; there are no setae on the prementum or palps.

  • Synlestes weyersii  larvae

  • Synlestes weyersii tillyardi

  • Synlestes weyersii, male

  • Larva of a Synlestidae sp