Dragonfly Guide


Fraser, 1940

The Cordulegastridae are a family of Odonata from the suborder Anisoptera. They are commonly known as spiketails. They have large, brown or black bodies with yellow markings, and narrow unpatterned wings. Their bright eyes touch at a single point, and they can be found along small, clear, woodland streams, patrolling slowly 30 to 70 cm above the water. When disturbed, however, they can fly very rapidly. They usually hunt high in forest vegetation, and prefer to capture prey resting on leaves or branches (known as gleaning).

The Cordulegastridae usually lay their eggs in the sand in shallow water, the female hovering just above the water with her body in a vertical position, and making repeated dips into the water with her abdomen.

The family is distributed worldwide with five different genera:

  • Anotogaster Selys, 1854
  • Cordulegaster Leach, 1815
  • Chlorogomphus Selys, 1854
  • Neallogaster Cowley, 1934
  • Sonjagaster Lohmann, 1992

The name Cordulegastridae comes from the Greek kordylinus, club-shaped and gaster, belly. The common name spiketails refers to the females' prominent ovipositors.


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Distribution map. Data from gbif.org


  • Trollsländor i Europa, Åke Sandhall