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Twin-spotted Spiketail



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Cordulegaster maculata

Selys, 1854


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Cordulegastroidea
Family Cordulegastridae
Genus Cordulegaster
Species maculata Selys, 1854 [Cordulegaster]


Identification

This species is confined to the eastern Austroriparian biotic province within the region. Its eyes are brilliant blue or green in life. The pterothorax is dark brown, becoming paler below where there are numerous gray hairs around the legs. There are two broad pale stripes laterally on the thorax. The wings are clear, but sometimes become smoky. The abdomen is dark brown with a paired row of pale yellow spots.

Size

Total length: 65-76 mm; abdomen: 47-58 mm; hindwing: 38-50 mm.

Similar Species

Arrowhead Spiketail (C. obliqua ) has an arrowhead pattern dorsally on the abdomen. Fawn Darner (Boyeria vinosa ) can be distinguished in the field by two lateral thoracic spots, rather than stripes. Springtime Darner (Basiaeshna janata ) has basal brown spots in both wings and blue on the abdomen. Stream cruisers (Didymops ) and river cruisers (Macromia ) have a single lateral thoracic stripe.

Habitat

Small, rapidly flowing spring-fed forest streams and seepages with sandy or muck bottoms.

Discussion

This early spring species is widely distributed throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Little has been published about its biology, but males are known to patrol long stretches of streams, sometimes just inches over the water. One study found mayflies make up the majority (69% ) of the larval diet. Mating lasts an average of 50 minutes.

Distribution

Eastern U.S. and Canada.