Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (male)

The following photos show an Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus lividus) perching on the ground in a field located near Giles Run at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual, spotted on 02 May 2014, is a male — there are clearly three terminal appendages and its hind wings aren’t rounded like a female.

Ashy Clubtail dragonflies have been “documented in previous years at Meadowood as well as Occoquan Regional Park, but this is a first-of-season record for this year,” quoting Jim Waggener, coordinator for wildlife surveys of the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Ashy- or Lancet Clubtail

Ashy- or Lancet Clubtail

Ashy Clubtail, Lancet Clubtail (Gomphis exilis), and Dusky Clubtail (Gomphus spicatus) dragonflies are very similar in appearance and difficult to differentiate with complete certainty, as shown by the following composite image created by Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast.


According to Ed, my tentative field identification of the dragonfly species is probably correct and it is definitely a male.

The abdominal pattern fits Ashy better than Lancet. While there’s a hint of a pale marking on top of Segment 9, it’s usually paler [on Ashy] and well-defined on Lancet. It is indeed a male. Source Credit: Ed Lam, Northeast Odonata Facebook group.

Remember that “Segment 9” refers to abdominal segment nine (of 10), numbered from front to back.

Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.

  • Genus Gomphus | Gomphus lividus | Ashy Clubtail | male | top view
  • Genus Gomphus | Gomphus lividus | Ashy Clubtail | male | side view

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (male)”

  1. Top 10 Photos of 2014 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 02 MAY 2014 | MRA | Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (male) […]

  2. A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 02 MAY 2014 | Meadowood Recreation Area | Ashy Clubtail (male) […]

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