• Kenneth J. Tennessen


The Gomphidae nymphs of North America comprise a diverse group in size, shape and morphological detail. The family is characterized by 4-segmented antennae, flat prementum, a movable molar crest on the mandibles, and two prothoracic and mesothoracic tarsal segments. Gomphid nymphs are masters of concealment, burying themselves in substrates of cobble, gravel, sand, silt, mud and/or debris in lentic and lotic waters of nearly every size. Their stocky legs, abundance of setae, and reduced antennae are adaptations to a sub-benthic way of life. Illustrated keys to the 17 genera and 102 species occurring in North America are presented. Two monotypic genera, Hagenius and Octogomphus, occur only in North America. Body shape, especially in the shape of the abdomen, is useful for field identification. Species identification is straightforward in genera such as Arigomphus and Dromogomphus, but most genera present difficulties. Many of the characters used to separate species are presented for the first time, including some useful, overlooked setal characters. The characters are applicable mainly to full-grown nymphs, although earlier instars can usually be identified to genus.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Tennessen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Florida State Collection of ArthropodsGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.WautomaUSA

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