The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 187 Odonate species

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Our only member of the Family: PETALURIDAE Number of records for 2020 = 1

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Gray Petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi) by John Petranka
Compare with:   Distinctive
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply to both sexes.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Gray Petaltail
flight charts
distribution Present throughout the mountains and Piedmont; very rare in the Sandhills (only two records), but seemingly absent from nearly all of the remainder of the Coastal Plain.
abundance Generally uncommon, but may be fairly common, at least locally.
flight In the Piedmont, late April to mid-July, and sparingly to late July; a later flight in the mountains by a month, from mid-May to mid-August. A recent report for 12 September in the Piedmont is extremely late and probably requires confirmation.
habitat Breeds in wooded seepages, one of the few dragonflies to breed in seeps. Adults seen in upland forests and edges.

See also Habitat Account for General Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
behavior Tame. Typically perches vertically on tree trunks, but also perches on humans!
comments This is a "primitive" species. It is easily identified, as it is the only gray-colored species on the abdomen and as it often gives the observer an excellent view while it perches on tree trunks and other conspicuous places. It was formerly (20-30 years ago) thought be be rare (or very poorly known) in the state, but with many more observers afield, the species has been seen frequently, probably not representing a population increase. Though numbers are not overly great for a large dragonfly, its habit of flying to wooded openings in uplands, such as along jeep roads and sunny trails, and perching on tree trunks and humans, makes it readily conspicuous and an "odonate favorite".
S_rank S4
G_rank G4
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
Species account update: LeGrand1234

Photo Gallery for Gray Petaltail

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Transylvania, 2019-05-28,
Photo by: A. Rawlings

Comment: Gaston, 2019-05-14, CRMO
Photo by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Polk; M, 2019-05-13, along Green River near Big Rock take-out, Green River Game Land. First record for county.
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2018-07-02, Tulula Wetlands
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Macon, 2018-06-27, Chattooga River about 150 meters upstream from the Iron Bridge on Bull Pen Road - Female. Landed on Sally. First record for county.
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Stokes, 2018-06-16, Jessup Mill Public Fishing Area; Dan River
Photo by: Ken Kneidel

Comment: Yancey, 2018-06-16,
Photo by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-06-03, Stone Mountain SP - path off end of campground Loop B
Photo by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-06-03, Stone Mountain SP - path off end of campground Loop B
Photo by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-05-31,
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Alleghany, 2015-07-14, Stone Mountain State Park (STMO). - Landed at our campsite, Loop B.
Photo by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-06-14, - Single female found in Lake McKinney drainage
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2015-06-05, Hill Demonstration Forest. Flat River at State Forest Rd. bridge. - Male. Perched on concrete bridge approach. Very tame.
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: McDowell; M, 2015-05-29, along Hwy 221 at Coats Factory 35.834498; -82.002152
Photo by: Jim Petranka

Comment: Madison, 2015-05-29, On tree trunk along the Ivy River.
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2014-07-03, Biltmore Estate, Asheville
Photo by: Harry LeGrand

Comment: Haywood, 2013-07-21, along Harmon Den Rd - perched on gravel road
Photo by: R Emmitt

Comment: Orange, 2013-05-27, Emmitt Estate Perched on the new chicken coop eaves.
Photo by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston, Gail Lankford, Janie Owen

Comment: Madison, 2012-05-17, French Broad River, Pisgah National Forest
Photo by: Steve Hall

Comment: Randolph, 2011-06-07, Birkhead Wilderness, Uwharrie National Forest
Photo by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2010-05-16, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf course, female
Photo by: Lori Owenby, Alisha Hayes

Comment: Catawba, 2009-06-20, Riverbend Park - along slow moving creek
Photo by: Katherine Hale

Comment: Ashe, 2008-06-03, NERI - Adult emerging. In bog/seep on Bowers property
Photo by: Ed Corey

Comment: 2008-05-29. bog in Transylvania County
Photo by: Ricky Davis

Comment: Halifax, 2008-05-24, - Medoc Mountain State Park
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2007-07-23, - McConnell has photos
Photo by: Will Cook - Will's website

Comment: Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06
Photo by: T. Howard

Comment: Harnett; P, 2002-04-27, RARO - female - just emerged from larval case
Photo by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Bent Creek