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Gulf Coast Clubtail

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Gomphurus modestus

Needham, 1942

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Gomphioidea
Family Gomphidae
Genus Gomphurus
Species modestus (Needham, 1942) [Gomphus]


The face is pale green, handsomely striped with black. The thorax is green with a dark brown middorsal stripe widening anteriorly and divided medially by a pale carina. The antehumeral stripe is wide and separated from the humeral stripe by a wide greenish-yellow stripe, but it still narrowly contacts the middorsal stripe at its upper end. The midlateral stripe is well-developed and broadly confluent with the humeral stripe at its lower end, appearing as a "U." The third lateral stripe is present and well-developed. The wings sometimes have a hint of flavescence basally. The legs are black. The abdomen is black except laterally on the basal segments. Segments 1-7 each have a pale hastate stripe middorsally that becomes shorter on the posterior segments. Segment 8 has a small basal yellow spot dorsally and segments 9-10 are black dorsally. Segments 7-9 are yellow baslolaterally and broadly expanded in the male.


Total length: 55-63 mm; abdomen: 43-47 mm; hindwing: 34-38 mm.

Similar Species

This is the largest of the Gomphurus occurring in the south-central United States. It is closest to Cobra Clubtail (G. vastus ) among the species in our region, but it is paler with more complete lateral thoracic stripes. Cobra Clubtail also has a small pale spot laterally on segment 8 and wide black stripes on the face


Medium-sized coastal streams and rivers with mud or sand bottoms.


Males often perch on the ground, facing the stream. Gulf Coast Clubtail is rarely seen in the area, a fact that may have more to do with males spending large amounts of time in trees rather than their actual abundance. Males are also only occasionally seen patrolling.


Southeastern U.S. from Mississippi to Texas.