Italian goldenring (Cordulegaster trinacriae)

French: Cordulegaster de Sicile
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderOdonata
FamilyCordulegastridae
GenusCordulegaster (1)
SizeMale length: 73 - 79 mm (2)
Female length: 83 - 93 mm (2)
Male length of abdomen: 55 - 63 mm (2)
Female length of abdomen: 64 - 72 mm (2)
Male hindwing: 45 - 49 mm (2)
Female hindwing: 51 - 53 mm (2)

The Italian goldenring is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Also referred to as spiketails and biddies, golden-ringed dragonflies (Cordulegastridae) are large black dragonflies with generally bright yellow rings more or less encircling their abdomen, depending on the species (2) (3). The Italian goldenring (Cordulegaster trinacriae) shows rather small abdominal yellow marks, possesses conspicuous yellow markings on its thorax and head, and has large green eyes. Males and females are similar in appearance, but females are distinctly larger. Separation from the widespread European C. boltonni is mainly possible through the structure of the abdominal appendages of the male (2).

The Italian goldenring is endemic to southern Italy, including Sicily (1).

The Italian goldenring is found along mountain brooks (1).

Virtually nothing has been recorded of the Italian goldenring’s biology and behaviour, but this may be inferred from what is known about its nearest relative, C. boltonni. The eggs hatch three to six weeks after egg deposition and the larval period should last two to three years, perhaps more in altitude. It should include 12 to 14 stadia. After metamorphosis and emergence, adults, which are, like other Odonata species, generalised, opportunistic feeders, feed on flying insects. Males don’t establish territories but patrol over long distances along river edges, searching for reproductive females, and stand quite often on herbs or branches exposed to the sun. They continuously change their route in the course of the day. Females are generally hidden and are much more scarcely observed than males. They lay by driving their eggs in the sandy sediments of rivers and brooks through a rhythmic vertical flight, distinctive of golden-ringed dragonflies (4).

The Italian goldenring’s severely fragmented population is believed to be declining due to habitat destruction through ongoing deforestation and water extraction for human use (1).

There are currently no conservation measures targeting the Italian goldenring, but there is a need to preserve forests and control the levels of water use and harvesting (1).

Authenticated (18/12/2006) by Jean-Pierre Boudot, CNRS, Université Henri Poincaré Nancy I, France.

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Dijkstra, K.D.B. and Lewington, R. (2006) Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, Gillingham.
  3. Dragonflies and Damselflies in Languedoc (September, 2006)
    http://www.ghmahoney.org.uk/insects/dflyl_corga.htm
  4. Grand, D. and Boudot, J.P. (2006) Les Libellules de France, Belgique et Luxembourg. Editions Parthénope, Mèze.