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midland clubtail

midland clubtail (Gomphurus fraternus) [female] [male]
Photos © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The midland clubtail is a relatively large dragonfly (one and one-half to two inches long) with striking yellow and black patterning, green eyes, black legs, long hind legs, and a clubbed tail. The yellow color on females is slightly duller than on males. Distinguishing between species in the subgenus Gomphurus is difficult. The midland clubtail is very similar to the plains clubtail (Gomphus externus), and they are only differentiated by minute differences in coloration on end of abdomen (“tail”); the midland clubtail only occurs in the northern half of the state and the plains clubtail occurs statewide.

These large dragonflies are predators to other dragonflies, using their superior speed to capture them and other winged prey. They can be seen in flight from May to August near clean streams and rivers with good water quality, on the shores of large lakes, or perched on roads and stream banks. Mating likely occurs in spots hidden from predators. Females deposit eggs in riffles and waves. 

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Gomphidae

Illinois Status: common, native