South-eastern Petaltail Click to enlarge image
Giant Dragonfly/South-eastern Petaltail (Petalura gigantea). Image: Leonard Müller
© Leonard Müller

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    gigantea
    Genus
    Petalura
    Family
    Petaluridae
    Super Family
    Petaluroidea
    Suborder
    Epiproctophora
    Order
    Odonata
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    11-13 cm

Introduction

The South-eastern Petaltail is the second largest dragonfly of south-eastern Australia.

Identification

The South-eastern Petaltail is brown to brownish black and yellow, and has clear wings and a long, thick body. The larvae are semi-aquatic grubs with a soft, pale body and large digging legs.

Habitat

The South-eastern Petaltail lives in wetlands and swamps, heath and coastal forests.

Distribution

The South-eastern Petaltail is found in eastern New South Wales. Some time ago, the South-eastern Petaltail occurred in urban Sydney, along the northern beaches and in Cronulla. It now seems to be restricted to a few localities in the Royal National Park.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Scientists are uncertain exactly how long this species lives as a larva, but it may be as long as 30 years. The South-eastern Petaltail belongs to an ancient group of dragonflies that was common 190 million years ago, at the beginning of the age of the dinosaurs.