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Sulphur-tipped Clubtail



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Phanogomphus militaris

Hagen in Selys, 1858


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Gomphioidea
Family Gomphidae
Genus Phanogomphus
Species militaris (Hagen in Selys, 1858) [Gomphus]


Identification

This is the most widespread common clubtail (Gomphus ) in the region, although it is conspicuously absent in both Arkansas and Louisiana. It is marked with the most yellow and is the brightest colored of the common clubtail species. The face is yellow with no evidence of dark stripes. Females have a pair of minute spines present on the vertex. The front of the thorax is distinctly more yellow than the darker sides. The brown middorsal thoracic stripe is narrow, but widens slightly toward the collar. The antehumeral stripe is well separated from the humeral stripe and it is free at its upper end. The pale stripe between them is 1/2-2/3 their width at its widest. The humeral stripe narrows at its lower end. The midlateral stripe is thin and always present, but generally interrupted above the spiracle. The third lateral stripe is also thin, but well-developed. The legs have more yellow than other species. The predominately black femora and tibiae both have yellow stripes on their outer surfaces. The black abdomen is conspicuously narrowed medially. There is a wide, pale yellow middorsal stripe that is nearly continuous on the middle segments. Segments 7-9 are expanded laterally, less so in females, and segments 8-10 are diffusely yellow with brownish-yellow caudal appendages. Dorsal and lateral pale yellow areas on segment 9 are narrowly separated. Males are distinctive because of the enlarged, distinctly warty peduncle.

Size

Total length: 47-54 mm; abdomen: 34-41 mm; hindwing: 28-35 mm.

Similar Species

This species is similar to Plains (G. externus ) and Pronghorn (G. graslinellus ) Clubtail, but these species are darker and the pale yellow, dorsal and lateral areas of segment 7 are widely separated. Oklahoma Clubtail (G. oklahomensis ) is similarly different and much smaller in size. Flag-tailed Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spoliatus ) is larger, with longer legs, pale basal rings on the middle abdominal segments and distinct spines on the hind femora.

Habitat

Ponds, lakes, streams and creeks with muddy bottoms.

Discussion

This species is found in a variety of habitats, often perching on the ground or on rocks surrounding the water. It can be equally as common away from the water, in open fields perching on vegetation 1-2 feet in height. Males patrol over water away from the bank.

Distribution

Southern Great Plains and Nuevo Leon, Mexico.