Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Plains Clubtail

Gomphurus externus

Hagen in Selys, 1858

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The Plains Clubtail is widespread across Nebraska, but not common. This species is black with extensive yellow or greenish markings. It has a large abdominal club. All the abdominal segments are marked with yellow on top. Segment 9 has the widest yellow spot: a large square or oval on the top. It is often found resting on rocks along streams. The female is similar to the male.

It is similar in appearance to the Pronghorn Clubtail, which is smaller and has a differently shaped clasper. It is also similar in appearance to the Sulphur-tipped Clubtail, which is also smaller and has more yellow on the club.

Uncommon. There are scattered records west (to Utah) and north (to Canada) of Nebraska, but the state is essentially the western and northern edge of this Midwestern species’ range. In Nebraska there are numerous records to the Panhandle but only one Panhandle record. Externus is usually found as a single individual near or on the edge of a flowing stream or small river.

Plains Clubtail
Plains Clubtail

Photo courtesy of Loren and Babs Padelford.

Plains Clubtail map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.

Size: 52-59 mm (2.0-2.3 in)

Habitat: rivers with moderate current and muddy bottoms

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, NM, CO, WY, MT, MO, IA, MN

Flight season: late May to late July

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