Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sable Clubtail Dragonfly: Greenish Eyes, Green-Black Body, Narrow Wings

Summary: North American sable clubtail dragonfly habitats get greenish eyes, narrow wings, black-and-gray-green thoraxes, short legs and black-and-yellow abdomens.

exuvia (exoskeletal remains after insect molting) of larval female sable clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus rogersi; Stenogomphurus rogersi); exuvia's length is about 3 centimeters (~ 1.2 inches) in length: Walter Sanford ‏@Geodialist via Twitter Feb. 24, 2018

North American sable clubtail dragonfly habitats attract gravel-, rock-, sand- and silt-loving cultivators and naturalists in wet woodland distribution ranges from New Jersey through Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, New York and everywhere in-between.
Sable clubtails bear their common name for clubbed, dark abdomens and the scientific name Gomphus rogersi ([crossbow arrow-like] bolt [named in honor of entomologist] Rogers). The scientific name commemorates James Speed Rogers (Nov. 4, 1891-May 17, 1955), director of the University of Michigan's Edwin S. George Reserve and Museum of Zoology. Descriptions in 1936 by Leonora K. Gloyd (Aug. 29, 1902-June 3, 1993) of the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor, decide scientific designations.
Sable clubtail life cycles expect clean, clear, moderately flowing, gravel-, rock-, sand-, silt-bottomed forest streams up to 15 feet (4.58 meters) wide and just below obstructions.

April through July function as earliest to latest flight seasons even though May and June furnish wildlife mapping opportunities throughout coastal and inland sable clubtail niches.
Males go out mid-mornings to late afternoons to gain mates that, atypically among clubtails, they guard during ovipositing (egg-laying) and to garner perches and gather prey. They hasten into the canopy when harried, hold onto shaded riffle rocks, somewhat shaded leaves at forest edges and sunlit waterside vegetation and hover over water. They ingest prey as sallier perchers after flushed or opportunistic invertebrates and initiate intermittent, slow patrols from floating plants, low-lying vegetation, overhanging grass and riffle rocks.
Ants, assassin flies, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, spiders, turtles and water beetles and mites jeopardize North American sable clubtail dragonfly habitats.

Immature sable clubtails keep bright yellow bodies throughout many molts even though blue-green-eyed male and green-eyed female adults know predominantly black, gray-green, green and yellow-green coloration.
Incompletely metamorphosing life cycles lead from round eggs laid by females looked after by their mates to multimolting larvae, naiads or nymphs and to molted tenerals. Immature, little adult-like nonflyers metamorphose into shiny-winged, tender-bodied, weak-flying tenerals that master physical and sexual maturation, muster permanent colors, mate and manipulate eggs into ovipositing sites. Aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, copepods, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms nourish common clubtail members of the Gomphidae dragonfly family.
North American sable clubtail dragonfly habitats offer northward to southward, season-coldest temperatures from minus 10 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23.33 to minus 12.22 degrees Celsius).

Beech, bellflower, birch, bladderwort, cattail, daisy, grass, greenbrier, heath, laurel, madder, maple, nettle, olive, pepperbush, pine, pondweed, rush, sedge, water-lily and willow families promote sable clubtails.
Forward-bent crests, green eyes, gray-green thoraxes with black, double, interrupted stripes, green-yellow-striped, yellow-lined, patched and spotted abdomens, ovipositors and two claspers qualify as adult female hallmarks. Males reveal blue-green eyes, dusky-tipped, narrow wings, short legs, gray-green thoraxes with double, interrupted stripes and black abdomens with gray-green spots and triangles and yellow-flanged clubs. Adults show off 1.85- to 1.97-inch (47- to 50-millimeter) head-body lengths, 1.38- to 1.49-inch (35- to 38-millimeter) abdomens and 1.22- to 1.46-inch (31- to 37-millimeter) hindwings.
Double-lined faces, dusky-tipped, narrow wings, interrupted double-striped thoraxes, short legs and semi-clubbed abdomens tell sable clubtails from other odonates in North American sable clubtail dragonfly habitats.

Leonora Gloyd, describer of sable clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus rogersi): Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum ‏@NatureMuseum via Twitter June 24, 2017

My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
exuvia (exoskeletal remains after insect molting) of larval female sable clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus rogersi; Stenogomphurus rogersi); exuvia's length is about 3 centimeters (~ 1.2 inches): Walter Sanford ‏@Geodialist. "Stenogomphurus rogersi exuvia." Twitter. Feb. 24, 2018, @
Leonora Gloyd, describer of sable clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus rogersi): Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum ‏@NatureMuseum via Twitter June 24, 2017, @

For further information:
Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Princeton NJ; Oxford UK: Princeton University Press, 2005. James Speed Rogers. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Available @
Beaton, Giff. Dragonflies & Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. Athens GA; London UK: University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Berger, Cynthia. Dragonflies. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books: Wild Guide, 2004.
Gloyd, Leonora K. Three New North American Species of Gomphinae (Odonata). Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, no. 326 (Feb. 25, 1936): 1-5. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, 1936.
Available via Deep Blue - University of Michigan Library @;jsessionid=49F12B137F4645779B50753B1C4EDB56?sequence=1
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum ‏@NatureMuseum. "Leonora Gloyd on a museum field expedition to Arizona ca. 1940." Twitter. June 24, 2017.
Available @
"Stenogomphurus rogersi." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Anisoptera > Gomphidae > Stenogomphurus.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @
Walter Sanford ‏@Geodialist. "Stenogomphurus rogersi exuvia." Twitter. Feb. 24, 2018.
Available @

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