- This family is known
as the Clubtails, because of the widened segments at the end of their abdomens
or "clubs". These "clubs" are most prominent in the males,
though females of many species have them as well, but usually to a lesser
degree than the males.
- In North America, this
family contains 98 species in 13 genera. The greatest number of species is
found in the southeastern United States. In Idaho, there are six species in
- Unlike most dragonflies,
a number of species in this family have very small ranges and do not disperse
widely. Consequently, new species are still being discovered, the most recent
- These dragonflies are
even more dependent than most dragonflies on sunlight to maintain their body
temperature, and are rarely seen flying on cool or cloudy days. Members of
this family are rare at high altitudes and northern latitudes.
- The ovipositor of the
females is greatly reduced, and the females lay eggs (oviposit) by dipping
the tip of the abdomen in the water while hovering just above the surface.
The females oviposit by themselves, without a male in attendance.
- The naiads of these
dragonflies are usually found in streams and rivers, though some species do
occur in lakes. They are very selective in their habitat choices and will
often be found only in certain stretches of a stream or river.
- The naiads are characterized
by up-turned tips on their abdomens. These special tips allow the naiads to
burrow under bottom sand or mud and still breathe. They do this by pumping
water in and out of the abdomen through these tips.
- Unlike most dragonflies
the naiads emerge during the day. They crawl out onto a horizontal bank and
emerge within a matter of minutes.
These dragonflies are medium-sized
with clear wings and relatively short legs. They have rings of white on each
segment of the abdomen, which gives them the common name Ringtails. Only males
have clubbed abdomens.
medium sized dragonflies with clear wings. They tend to range further north
than most other members of this family. In most species the thorax is yellow-green
stripes with brown. The abdomen is dark brown to black, and is striped lengthwise
with yellow on the upper surface and on each side.
Gomphus graslinellus- Pronghorn
These are medium-sized
dragonflies with a solid green thorax. They are typically found in cold, trout
streams rather than the warmer waters favored by most other members of this family.
are large members of this family. The abdomen is usually brown or black marked
with yellow. The naiads live in the sandy bottoms of streams and lakes and are
These are relatively
large Clubtails with clear wings. Both the males and the females have the last
segments of the abdomen widened into a "club"; the males to a greater
degree than the females. The thorax is green to light olive with black markings.
Written by Mark Lung and Stefan
Page design by Ean Harker 2001.
Original images provided by Dennis Paulson ,©2001.