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In this paper the classification of Australian gomphids as adopted by Watson (1991) and Theischinger (1998) is replaced by the classification proposed by Bechly (1996) and used also by Hawking and Theischinger (1999) with Gomphides standing for Gomphidae, Lindeniidae for Ictinogomphinae and Gomphidae for Gomphinae.
The Gomphides (formerly Gomphidae) represent a very diverse group of the Australian dragonfly fauna. Six genera, five subgenera and 39 species, generally based on adults only, have been described since 1854. Only much more recently some information on the larvae was presented. After the most recent comprehensive treatment of Australian gomphid larvae (Theischinger 1998) we now know the larvae of most species, but there are still large gaps in our knowledge. It is the main intention of this presentation to make possible or facilitate the identification of known larvae of Australian gomphid species. The author has, however, strongly emphasised existing gaps in our knowledge in order to make it more interesting and easier for people from a wide range of activities to attempt to close some of them.
Taxonomic notes and diagnoses under higher taxa only cover the Australian members. Measurements and descriptions are given from last instar larvae (L) or from final instar exuviae (E). Most illustrations are given from final instar exuviae. As colouration of individuals may be variable in life due to specific conditions in the habitat and as colouration of preserved specimens may reflect the ways or methods of collection and preservation, colours are not given in the descriptions; they may range from pale greyish yellow to dark greyish brown. Pubescence that is rather strong in all taxa does not appear useful for diagnoses and is therefore omitted in illustrations and usually not mentioned or specified in descriptions. Smoothness or dentition of premental ligula and labial palps may to some degree be affected by conditions of habitat and food and possibly others.
All diagnoses are made up in similar style facilitating comparison. Only the most reliable characters are used in keys and diagnoses. In spite of that the keys may be of limited use for identifying other than last instar larvae and exuviae.