New York Natural Heritage Program
Midland Clubtail
Gomphurus fraternus

Identifying Characteristics [-]
As their name suggests, Clubtails have an enlarged tip on the end of their abdomens, giving them a club-like appearance. The Midland Clubtail belongs to the subgenus Gomphurus, which may be characterized by having the broadest clubs in the Clubtail family and their overall large size. The Midland Clubtail has a dark brown thorax with greenish yellow dorsal (top) stripes that form a rear-ward facing "U" pattern. They have a slender, blackish abdomen with a widened "club" at the end with yellow dorsal stripes on abdominal segments 3-7 and a yellow triangular spot on segment 8. There is often (not always) a little dorsal spot on segment 9 as well, but segment 10 is black dorsally. Also, there are yellow patches on the sides of the club portion of the abdomen (segments 8 and 9). Midland Clubtails are 1.9-2.2 inches in length. They have blue-green eyes and, as with all Gomphids, their eyes are separated dorsally. Male terminal appendages and female subgenital plates are distinctive from other Gomphus species when examined under magnification. Female Midland Clubtails have thicker abdomens than males, with a slightly narrower club. Both sexes have a yellow face and black legs; however, the hind thighs of the females often have a pale lateral (side) stripe.

Behavior [-]
Gomphid larvae spend much of their time burrowing into the substrate of streams and rivers where they are found. Adults are found perching on emergent rocks in rivers or on the banks or leaves at river edges (Nikula et al. 2003). Adult males maintain rapid and prolonged flights to patrol for females and often hover over open water (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2003). Adult females oviposit (lay eggs) by washing their abdomens in rapids or turbulent areas of rivers and lakes (Mead 2003).

Diet [-]
Midland Clubtail larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Midland Clubtail Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Adults are active from late May into mid-July (Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program 2003). Larvae may be found in appropriate habitats year-round.
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Midland Clubtail present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Skillet Clubtail (Gomphus ventricosus)
    The Skillet Clubtail does not have a dorsal spot on abdominal segment 8, whereas this is present on the Midland Clubtail. In addition, the Skillet Clubtail has much larger lateral (side) spots on abdominal segments 8 and 9 (Nikula et al. 2003).
  • Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus)
    The Cobra Clubtail does not have a dorsal spot on abdominal segment 8, whereas this is present on the Midland Clubtail. In addition, the Cobra Clubtail has dark streaks on its face where no streaks are present on the face of the Midland Clubtail (Nikula et al. 2003).