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

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Australia has a rich and highly endemic corduliid fauna. The cosmopolitan Corduliinae includes 4 Australian genera, the monotypic, northern Pentathemis membranulata, the almost offshore Metaphya tillyardi (a New Guinea species recorded once from Bramble Cay), Procordulia (2 spp., one in the south-west, the other south-east), and Hemicordulia (8 spp. including H. tau with its T-shaped facial marking, probably the most common dragonfly in Australia). Yellow with black or brown, or occasionally green, are the common colours throughout this family.

Many Corduliinae inhabit sluggish waters or ponds including temporary pools. The very common H. tau , a species capable of breeding in ephemeral pools, can complete its life cycle from egg to adult in less than six weeks. Two robust, tropical species of the almost cosmopolitan Macromia represent the Macromiinae. The larvae are very long-legged and spidery, found in streams and rivers. The endemic subfamily Cordulephyinae (one genus, Cordulephya, eastern Australia, 4 spp.) are small corduliids, black with orange-yellow markings, that rest with their wings closed and perched upright on the trunks of trees. In this position they do not so much resemble a damselfly with closed wings as a very large mayfly. The larval labial palp in Cordulephyinae has a deeply dentate distal margin. The Australian Gomphomacromiinae comprise 14 species in 8 endemic genera: Apocordulia, Archaeophya, Austrocordulia, Austrophya, Hesperocordulia, Lathrocordulia, Micromidia, and Pseudocordulia . This subfamily is elsewhere known from South America and Madagascar, together with one species from South Africa and another, of doubtful affinities, in south-west Europe. Each of the Australian species is dull-coloured or black with yellow markings. Several are limited to forest habitats with low light and to some extent are crepuscular, and the larvae of Pseudocordulia in Queensland rainforests have been found in moist leaf litter several metres from the nearest stream. The New South Wales species Archaeophya adamsi is known from very few records, none recent, on streams north from Sydney, and is listed as vulnerable.

  • Cordulephya pygmaea

  • Hemicordulia australiae larvae

  • Synthemis macrostigma larvae

  • Synthemis eustalacta

  • Hemicordulia tau