The Sinai hooktail returns to its place of emergence to mate. The male arrives first, and establishes a territory containing areas suitable for mating and laying eggs (3). The male Sinai hooktail will usually perch close to running water, and will defend the territory against intruders (2).
The female Sinai hooktail arrives at the breeding site and selects a mate. The male uses the hooked appendage on the tip of the abdomen to grip the female near the eyes. Once in this position, known as ‘in tandem’, the male bends around to form an uneven heart shape, and copulates with the female (3).
In Gomphidae, copulation begins in the air, although the mating pair often move to the safety of a river bank or vegetation where they stay joined for several minutes. The female deposits the eggs, unattended by the male, by striking the abdomen against the surface of the water (3).
The Gomphidae has an aquatic larval
[ ] stage which lasts one to three years, depending on the species (3). The larvae are bottom-dwelling, with flat, stubby and hairy bodies. The legs of the larvae are particularly strong and often have [tibial] [ ]hooks to help dig burrows in the silt and mud (3), where the larvae hide from predators in the sediment (9). Gomphidae larvae also have paddle or club-shaped antennae, which help with digging (3).
All Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) undergo incomplete metamorphosis, meaning there is no intermediate pupal stage between a nymph and an adult. The aquatic larvae go through a series of moults called instars. The final instar makes its way up a vertical surface, climbing out of the water, and in Gomphidae this usually happens during early morning (3).
Once out of the water, the larva
[ ] attaches to its resting surface using its claws. It will then switch from aquatic respiration, using gills, to terrestrial respiration through spiracles. Emergence begins as the skin breaks down the back of the head, and the new head, thorax, legs and part of the new abdomen are slowly pulled out. The individual will then rest for a short period to allow the body to dry out and the legs to harden. The hardened legs are used to grip the shed larval [ ] skin and pull itself free (3).