The Dragonflies & Damselflies (Odonata) of South Africa

Compiled by Tanza Crouch and Tessa Hedge

Department of Entomology & Arachnology, Durban Natural Science Museum, P O Box 4085, Durban, 4000 South Africa
Tel: +27 [0]31-311 2243       Fax: +27 [0]31-311 2242

© Copyright of this page belongs to the author.
Yours is the access since 1st January 2000


The Families


The damselflies and dragonflies of South Africa are currently classified into two suborders, containing seven and four families respectively. A list of species has been published previously (Pinhey 1984, 1985), and the distributions and periods of adult activity are taken from that source. The nomenclature of southern African Odonata is currently under review (see below). Changes to the names (presented here) may well occur during the latter half of 2000.


Information about the Odonata and their phylogenetic position can be obtained from

BIOSIS Internet Resource Guide - Odonata
Gordon Ramel's Dragonfly and Damselfly Page
The Odonata page of The Tree of Life
The Odonata Information Network, especially the links page

Order: ODONATA Fabricius, 1793

Suborder: ZYGOPTERA Sélys, 1853
Superfamily: Calopterygoidea Sélys, 1850
Calopterygidae Sélys, 1850
Chlorocyphidae Cowley, 1937
Superfamily: Lestoidea Calvert, 1901
Lestidae Calvert, 1901
Synlestidae (= Chlorolestidae) Tillyard, 1917
Superfamily: Coenagrionoidea Kirby, 1890
Coenagrionidae Kirby, 1890
Platycnemididae Tillyard, 1917
Protoneuridae Tillyard, 1917
Suborder: ANISOPTERA S7eacute;lys, 1853
Superfamily: Gomphoidea Rambur, 1842
Gomphidae Rambur, 1842
Superfamily: Aeshnoidea Rambur, 1842
Aeshnidae Rambur, 1842
Superfamily: Libelluloidea Rambur, 1842
Libellulidae Rambur, 1842
Corduliidae Kirby, 1890


Pinhey, E.C.G. 1964.
A revision of the African members of the genus Pseudagrion Selys. Revista de Entomollogia de Mocambique 7: 1-196.
Pinhey, E.C.G. 1970.
Monographic study of the genus Trithemis Brauer. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 11: 1-159.
Pinhey, E.C.G. 1974.
A revision of the African Agriocnemis Selys and Mortonagrion Fraser. Occasional Papers of the National Museums of Rhodesia (B) Natural Sciences 5(4): 171-278.
Pinhey, E.C.G. 1980.
A revision of African Lestidae (Odonata). Occasional Papers of the National Museums of Zimbabwe (B) Natural Sciences 6(6): 327-479.
Pinhey, E.C.G. 1984.
A survey of the dragonflies of South Africa. Part 1. Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 47: 147-188.
Pinhey, E.C.G. 1985.
A survey of the dragonflies of South Africa. Part 2. Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 48: 1-48.

This part of A Catalogue of South African Insects revised: