Italian goldenring (Cordulegaster trinacriae)

Dorsal view of a male Italian goldenring
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Italian goldenring fact file

Italian goldenring description

GenusCordulegaster (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).

Cordulegaster de Sicile.
Male 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)

Italian goldenring biology

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).


Italian goldenring range

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


Italian goldenring habitat

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


Italian goldenring status

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

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened


Italian goldenring threats

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).


Italian goldenring conservation

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).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


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



A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but are unable to reproduce.
An abrupt physical change from the larval to the adult form.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.
Part of the body located near the head in animals. In insects, the three segments between the head and the abdomen, each of which has a pair of legs.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
  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)
  4. Grand, D. and Boudot, J.P. (2006) Les Libellules de France, Belgique et Luxembourg. Editions Parthénope, Mèze.

Image credit

Dorsal view of a male Italian goldenring  
Dorsal view of a male Italian goldenring

© Jean-Pierre Boudot

Jean-Pierre Boudot
Université Henri Poincaré Nancy I
Faculté des Sciences
Boulevard des Aiguillettes
BP 239
Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex


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