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Family PETALURIDAE - Petaltail Dragonflies

The Petaltail Dragonflies are considered to be the most primitive dragonflies. There are fossils identified as this family from Jurassic Era, the age of dinosaurs. There are about ten living species in this family. We have five species in Australia, all in Petalura genera.  The NSW species Petalura gigantea, the West Australian species Petalura hesperia, the north Queensland species Petalura ingentissima, the southeast Queensland species Petalura litorea and the very rare species Petalura pulcherrima.

All Petaltails are very large in size. They have separated eyes like the Clubtails family. Most of them are black or dark brown in colour. The pterostigmas on their wings are very long. Their males have the anal appendages enlarged like the petal, and this is why they are called.  Larva is semi-aquatic, mostly nocturnal, coming to the burrow entrance to await their prey.

 
Coastal Petaltail
  wpe9.jpg (22506 bytes)
Petalura litorea, body length 100mm
The Coastal Petaltail Dragonflies are vary large in size. Their eyes are well separated.  They have the black thorax with yellow spots. Their abdomen are yellow with black pattern. The pterostigma (darkened cell at the leading edge of each wing near the tip) are very long compared to those of other dragonflies. They are one of the very rare species and only found in Southeast Queensland. More information and pictures please click on here.

Reference:
1. The Australian Dragonflies - CSIRO, Watson, Theisinger & Abbey,1991, p214.
2. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric Nattrass, 2006, p59.
3. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, GŁnther Theischinger and John Hawking, 2006, p108. 

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Last updated: May 18, 2013.