Suborder Anisoptera
Family Macromiidae

Family Macromiidae figure 1

Very large dragonflies with long legs and metallic sheen. The eyes are contiguous dorsally, but not in so long a seam as in Libellulidae and Aeshnidae. Once again, the wing venation shows advances such as the perpendicular orientation of the forewing triangle and the well-developed anal loop of the hindwing, which remains round in shape and lacks the distinctive 'boot shape' found in Libellulidae and, to a lesser degree, in Corduliidae.

Among collectors and field workers, macromiid dragonflies are widely held to be the most difficult of all Anisoptera to capture.

One genus, Macromia, is known with certainty from the Papuan region, comprising twelve species to date. In addition, Ris (1915) lists Epophthalmia from Maluku, though this requires further verification.








Key to the genera of Papuan Macromiidae

1 In species of the Papuan fauna, hindwing triangle very small, without crossveins, anterior edge less than twice the length of proximal edge, hind margin straight. Pt minute, usually only the length of one cell of the subcostal series. Thorax predominantly metallic green, yellow areas where present reduced to narrow lines. Abdomen mainly black or blackish-green with yellow marks usually confined to dorsum of S7Macromia (12 species)

- Hindwing triangle large, more than twice as long as proximal edge, hind margin curved; one or more cross-veins present. Pt elongate, covering two cells of subcostal series. Thorax metallic blackish-green, broadly banded yellow, yellow bands somewhat less than half as broad as the adjoining green areas. Abdomen blackish with conspicuous yellow marks on dorsum of several segments. Abdomen + appendices 55.0 mm or less. Distribution: Sulawesi, ? Maluku.Epophthalmia (1 species)



Family Macromiidae figure 2

Genus Epophthalmia Burmeister, 1839

Lieftinck (1931) completely revised the genus and described in great detail the problems encountered in doing so. Among his comments are the following:

To facilitate the recognition of the several species, a comparative study of the neuration has been made: but, in contrast with so many other genera (including Macromia) [...] this study has led to disappointment, as no valuable characters could be found. [p. 22]

One species of this magnificent genus is listed, without further comment, for Maluku (Ris, 1915a; coll. Lorquin), though this record probably requires further verification. The species is otherwise known from Sulawesi.






Genus Macromia Rambur, 1842

To date twelve named species in this genus of large, long-legged, forest-loving dragonflies have been identified in the Papuan region. They are principally black or metallic green, marked with yellow. Of this genus, Lieftinck (1942) writes:

The New Guinean species of Macromia form a group of their own, characterized by their large size, minute Pt and very small hindwing triangle; also by the sharply acute anal angle of hindwing, and sombre body-colours. [p. 563]

Within this unique group, they are a fairly homogenous lot and there are few obvious characters with which to divide them into smaller clusters. In spite of every attempt to simplify their identification, the key that follows remains somewhat cumbersome. Lieftinck (1952) adds:

All species are relatively of large size, but owing to their metallic-green or black colours and the reduction of yellow body-markings, are inconspicuous insects when on the wing.

In addition to the twelve named species, Lieftinck (1971) reported three female specimens of a thirteenth species collected on Goodenough and Normanby Islands in the D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago. Because there was no male collected, Lieftinck declined to assign them a name.