New York Natural Heritage Program
Green-faced Clubtail
Gomphus viridifrons Hines, 1901

Identifying Characteristics [-]
As their name suggests, Clubtails have an enlarged tip on the end of their abdomens, giving them a club-like appearance. Adult Green-faced Clubtails are robust, 1.8 inches long, and have dark green eyes. Their face and thoracic sides are a clear, grayish-green color. Females may have paler, greenish-yellow markings. Both sexes have a black abdomen with segment 9 appearing shorter than segment 8. Males have pale lateral (side) spots on abdominal segments 5-7, while females have yellow on the sides of their clubs. Male terminal appendages and female subgenital plates are distinctive from other Clubtails when examined under magnification.

Behavior [-]
Female Green-faced Clubtails oviposit (lay eggs) by tapping the tips of their abdomens onto the surface of swift-flowing water while simultaneously releasing eggs (Mead 2003, Nikula et al. 2003). Males hover over the water with a raised abdomen and extended hindlegs and sometimes perch on nearby rocks or on shoreline leaves of weeds or trees (Dunkle 2000).

Diet [-]
Green-faced Clubtail larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Green-faced Clubtail Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Adult Green-faced Clubtails have been found in New York from May through July (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). They are known to be most active in the late afternoon under cloud cover (Mead 2003).
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Green-faced Clubtail present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Rapids Clubtail (Gomphus quadricolor)
    The Rapids Clubtail has a middle thoracic stripe, where the Green-faced Clubtail lacks this feature. Abdominal segment 9 is not shorter than segment 8 on the Rapids Clubtail, as it is with Green-faced Clubtails (Mead 2003).
  • Mustached Clubtail (Gomphus adelphus)
    The Mustached Clubtail has black facial markings not present on the Green-faced Clubtail. Male Mustached Clubtails lack the pale lateral spots on abdominal segments 5-7 that are present on our subject (Dunkle 2000).
  • Spine-Crowned Clubtail (Gomphus abbreviatus)
    Female Spine-crowned Clubtails have a dorsal (top) yellow spot on abdominal segment 10, while this segment is all-black on the Green-faced Clubtail females.