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PETALURIDAE
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TELEPHEBIIDAE
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AESHNIDAE
Blue-spotted Hawker
Australian Emperor
Australian Duskhawker 
 
LINDENIIDAE
Australian Tiger
 
GOMPHIDAE
Pale Hunter
Twin Spot Hunter
  
SYNTHEMISTIDAE               
Yellow-tipped Tigertail
Royal Tigertail 
 
HEMICORDULIIDAE
Australian Emerald
Fat-bellied Emerald
Tau Emerald 
 
LIBELLULIDAE
Common Archtail
Black-headed Skimmer
Blue Skimmer
Fiery Skimmer
Slender Skimmer
Palemouth Shorttail
Scarlet Percher 
Wandering Percher
Black Faced Percher 
Red Arrow
Red Swamp Dragon 
Graphic Flutterer
Yellow-striped Flutterer
Red Baron
Short-tailed Duskdarter
Water Prince
Common Glider
 
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Dragonflies Field Guide

of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

This page is the Quick Field Guide of Dragonflies in Brisbane. This includes most of the common species found in Brisbane and South East Queensland. For the complete list you should check the reference books listed at the end of this page. For Quick Field Guide of Damselflies in Brisbane please click here.


Dragonflies with dark brown patterns on yellow colours

Petalura litorea, Coastal Petaltail, male 
Male and female : Female about the same, without petal
Body length : 100mm
Habits : Rest with body hanging 45 degree on plant in thick vegetations
Habitat : Boggy seepage
Status : Rare
We found them at : Yugarapul Park
 
 
Hemianax papuensis, Australian Emperor, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 65mm
Habits : Non-stop flying over the ponds and streams
Habitat : Running and still waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most creeks and ponds
 
 
wpe6.jpg (27161 bytes)Ictinogomphus australis, Australian Tiger, male
Male and female : Female about the same, with thicker abdomen
Body length : 65mm
Habits : Perch at the best position of the area
Habitat : Large area of still and slow running waters
Status : Common 
We found them at : Bulimba Creek, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Garden, Moolabin Creek in Moorooka
 
 
wpeF.jpg (23567 bytes)Austrogomphus amphiclitus, Pale Hunter, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Perch on plants not too far away from waters, with tail arched
Habitat : Running waters
Status : Fairly common 
We found them at : Bulimba Creek, Yugarapul Park
 
 
wpe13.jpg (24254 bytes)Austrogomphus melaleucae, Twin Spot Hunter, male
Male and female : Female about the same, with slightly thinker abdomen
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Perch on plants next to waters, with tail arched
Habitat : Running waters
Status : Uncommon 
We found them at : Bulimba Creek in Macgregor
 
 
Choristhemis flavoterminata, Yellow-tipped Tigertail, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 47mm
Habits : fly slowly three meters about ground near creek, rest on low plants hanging vertically
Habitat : Running waters
Status : Locally common
We found them at : Moolabin Creek, Oxley Creek
 
 
Parasynthemis regina, Royal Tigertail, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 55mm
Habits : fly in fast to medium speed, hovering above water, resting on grass occasionally
Habitat : sluggish stream that dry to pools
Status : Rare, locally common
We found them at : Karawatha Forest, Frog Hollow
 
 
Hemicordulia australiae, Australian Emerald, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Males non-stop patrolling territories half a meter above water, rest in evening hanging vertically
Habitat : Running and still waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
wpe28.jpg (32092 bytes)Hemicordulia continentalis, Fat-bellied Emerald, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 40mm
Habits : Males flight rapidly on a set course above creek, rest hanging vertically
Habitat : Running waters
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Bulimba Creek in Macgregor, Yugarapul Park
 
 
Hemicordulia tau, Tau Emerald, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Males patrol territories above water, rest hanging vertically
Habitat : Creeks
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Moolabin Creek
 
 
Nannophlebia risi, Common Archtail, mlae
Male and female : Female above the same
Body length : 32mm
Habits : Perch with tail arch, slow flight
Habitat : Running waters
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Pryde Creek near Lake Wivenhoe
 
 
wpeB.jpg (24921 bytes)Orthetrum caledonicum, Blue Skimmer, female
Male and female : Male blue, same size, some female blue in colour as well
Body length : 45
Habits : Females come to waters for laying eggs
Habitat : Still and running waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
wpe2.jpg (24636 bytes)Orthetrum sabina, Slender Skimmer, female
Male and female : Male and female about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Perch with wings hold forward and depressed
Habitat : Slow running and still waters, include temporary ponds
Status : Fairly common 
We found them at : Temporary ponds in Karawatha Forest
 
 
Hydrobasileus brevistylus, Water Prince, Female
Male and female : Male about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Fly high and fast, females only come to waters for laying eggs
Habitat : Slow running and still waters
Status : Fairly common
We found them at : Bulimba Creek, Moolabin Creek, Botanic Garden
  
 

Dragonflies with brownish yellow or brown colour

wpe1.jpg (36216 bytes)Telephlebia tryoni, Coastal Evening Darner, female
Male and female : Male about the same
Body length : 75mm
Habits : Rest in thick vegetations, active in the evening
Habitat : Slow running creek with thick vegetations
Status : Rare
We found them at : Yugarapul Park
 
 
DSC_2435.jpg (92950 bytes) Crocothemis nigrifrons, Black-headed Skimmer, female
Male and female : Male blue, same size
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Females come to waters for laying eggs, usually guarding by male
Habitat : Still and slowly running waters 
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
Orthetrum villosovittatum, Fiery Skimmer, male
Male and female : Male same size, red in colour
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Females come to waters for laying eggs
Habitat : Still and running waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
wpe6.jpg (32274 bytes) Diplacodes haematodes, Scarlet Percher , female
Male and female : Male red, same size
Body length : 35mm
Habits : Females back to waters for laying eggs, with male in tandem
Habitat : Still and running waters, especially rocky creeks
Status : Common 
We found them at : Bulimba Creek
 
 
Diplacodes bipunctata, Wanderer Percher, female 
Male and female : Male red, same size
Body length : 32mm
Habits : Immature adults hunt far away from waters
Habitat : All type of waters, especially ponds with dense vegetations
Status : Very common
We found them at : Ponds in Eight Mile Plains, Botanic Garden, Karawatha Forest
 
 
Rhyothemis graphiptera, Graphic Flutterer, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 33mm
Habits : Fly slowly, usually gliding with flutter wings, change speed and direction suddenly
Habitat : Large still waters
Status : Common 
We found them at : Macgregor, Oxley Creek, Bulimba Creek, Botanic Garden
 
 
Rhyothemis phyllis, Yellow-striped Flutterer, male
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 40mm
Habits : Flight with fluttering in slow speed, gliding most of the time
Habitat : Large still waters
Status : Fairly common
We found them at : Oxley Creek, Bulimba Creek, Botanic Garden, lagoon in Karawatha Forest
 
 
Zyxomma elgneri, Short-tailed Duskdarter, male 
Male and female : Female pale brown, about the same size or slightly larger
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Active in evening, fly quickly along creek
Habitat : Creek with ponds
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Moolabin Creek
 
 
Zyxomma elgneri, Short-tailed Duskdarter, female 
Male and female : Female pale brown, about the same size or slightly larger
Body length : 48mm
Habits : Active in evening, fly quickly along creek
Habitat : Creek with ponds
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Moolabin Creek
 
 

Dragonflies with dark brown patterns on blue colour

Austroaeschna unicornis, Unicorn Darner, female
Male and female : male look different, see picture next below
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Non-stop flying on sunny days, rest within dense vegetations 
Habitat : Rivers and streams
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Bulimba Creek, Yugarapul Park, Alexandra Hill
 
 
Austroaeschna unicornis, Unicorn Darner, male
Male and female : female look different, see picture above
Body length : 75mm
Habits : Non-stop flying on sunny days, rest within dense vegetations 
Habitat : Rivers and streams
Status : Uncommon
We found them at : Bulimba Creek, Yugarapul Park, Alexandra Hill
 
 
wpe14.jpg (31206 bytes)Adversaeschna brevistyla, Blue-spotted Hawker, male
Male and female : About the same
Body length : 65mm
Habits : Fly fast and high, rest high on trees
Habitat : Ponds, slow flowing streams and rivers
Status : Fairly common
We found them at : Scrubby Creek in Karawatha Forest, 
 
 

Dragonflies with blue colour

wpe2.jpg (16199 bytes)Crocothemis nigrifrons, Black-headed Skimmer, male
Male and female : Female yellow, same size
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Male perch at the same spot, with wings hold forward and depressed
Habitat : Still and slowly running waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
Orthetrum caledonicum, Blue Skimmer, male
Male and female : Female yellow to pale blue, same size
Body length : 45
Habits : Male perch at the same spot, with wings hold forward and depressed
Habitat : Still and running waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
Brachydiplax denticauda, Palemouth Shorttail, male
Male and female : Female with mixed blue and yellow, about the same size
Body length : 35mm
Habits : Fly short distance always return to same perch
Habitat : Still waters
Status : Fairy common 
We found them at : Ponds in Wishart
 
 

Dragonflies with red colour

Orthetrum villosovittatum, Fiery Skimmer, male
Male and female : Female same size, yellow in colour
Body length : 45mm
Habits : Males are territorial and often return to the same spot
Habitat : Still and running waters
Status : Very common
We found them at : Most ponds and creeks
 
 
Rhodothemis lieftincki, Red Arrow, male
Male and female : Female same size, orange in colour
Body length : 40mm
Habits : Perch on plants, easily disturbed
Habitat : Large still  waters
Status : not common
We found them at : Lagoon in Karawatha Forest
 
 
Diplacodes haematodes, Scarlet Percher , male
Male and female : Female pale yellow, same size
Body length : 35mm
Habits : Perch on rock, sand and low vegetations 
Habitat : Still and running waters, especially rocky creeks
Status : Common 
We found them at : Bulimba Creek
 
 
wpe21.jpg (29124 bytes)Diplacodes bipunctata, Wanderer Percher, male 
Male and female : Female pale yellow, same size
Body length : 32mm
Habits : Immature adults hunt far away from waters
Habitat : All type of waters, especially ponds with dense vegetations
Status : Very common
We found them at : Ponds in Eight Mile Plains, Botanic Garden, Karawatha Forest
 
 
Diplacodes Melanopsis, Black Faced Percher, male 
Male and female : orange-grey to greenish-grey, same size
Body length : 35mm
Habits : Immature adults hunt far away from waters
Habitat : Perch on low vegetations
Status : Fairy common
We found them at : The Lagoon in Karawatha Forest
 
 
Urothemis aliena, Red Baron, male 
Male and female : Female about the same
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Strong flyer, when rest, they perch on highest tip of stem
Habitat : Large piece of waters
Status : Rare in South-east Queensland
We found them at : Lagoon in Karawatha Forest
 
 
DSC_2534.jpg (73101 bytes) Trapezostigma loewii, Common Glider, male
Male and female : Female about the same except in dull brown colour
Body length : 50mm
Habits : Males glide within a favorite area protecting territory, rest on high twig late afternoon
Habitat : Large running and still waters
Status : Common
We found them at : Botanic Garden, Karawatha Forest, Bulimba Creek
 
 

 
For Quick Field Guide of Damselflies in Brisbane please click here.

Reference:
1. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric Nattrass, 2006.
2. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, GŁnther Theischinger and John Hawking, 2006. 

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Last updated: March 28, 2009.