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Arizona Snaketail

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Ophiogomphus arizonicus

Kennedy, 1917

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Gomphioidea
Family Gomphidae
Genus Ophiogomphus
Species arizonicus Kennedy, 1917 [Ophiogomphus]


This is a dull green species restricted to the desert streams in the western portions of our region. Its face is yellowish-green and unmarked. Females often have a pair of spines on the strongly concave occipital ridge, but these may be lacking. The thorax has reduced markings including a faint middorsal stripe, an antehumeral stripe reduced to a spot at its posterior end, and a thin, but complete humeral stripe. The sides of the thorax are devoid of dark markings. The legs are pale basally with black tibiae. The abdomen is yellowish-green with a continuous black lateral stripe down its length.


Total length: 53-55 mm; abdomen: 40-42 mm; hindwing: 33-37 mm.

Similar Species

Pale Snaketail (O. severus ) is most similar, but differs in range and the male having the epiproct only half as long as the cerci and spines on the occipital ridge of the female. It can be distinguished from Dashed Ringtail (Erpetogomphus heterodon ) by the presence of pale abdominal rings in that species. Pondhawks (Erythemis ) have eyes touching on top of the head.


Mountain streams with strong riffles and cobble substrate.


Males are often seen perched on exposed rocks in the middle of the stream. They regularly patrol from these perches. Females may be scarce around the water when not laying eggs, but can be found perched on vegetation some distance from the stream.


Restricted to Arizona and New Mexico.