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

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records for 2019 = 9

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Septima's Clubtail (Gomphurus septima) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Splendid Clubtail   Cobra Clubtail   Cocoa Clubtail   Blackwater Clubtail   Midland Clubtail  
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Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Septima's Clubtail
distribution A somewhat narrow northeast-southwest band in the eastern Piedmont and the Sandhills. Ranges west to Stokes, Stanly, and Union counties, and east to Halifax, Nash, Harnett, and Cumberland counties. The species has a peculiar, disjunct, or relict range, and so far has been found only in NY, PA, NJ, VA, NC, SC, and AL (according to the OdonataCentral map). Thus, DE, MD, and GA lack records; and it has been found in just two counties each in VA, SC, and AL (OdonataCentral map).
abundance Uncommon but widespread within its rather limited range; noticeably increasing in the past few years. Mainly in the Cape Fear River system -- Haw, Rocky, Deep, and the Cape Fear itself. Rare to uncommon in the lower Yadkin/Pee Dee River system. Rare in the Neuse, Tar, and Roanoke, where so far found only along these rivers (includes the Eno River as the upper end of the Neuse) and not their tributaries; only recently reported from the latter two rivers. Discovered in the Dan River system in spring 2017, but likely rare to very uncommon there.
flight Early April to the end of May, and sparingly to mid-June. The peak is during the first half of May. The flight period has moved forward (earlier) by a week to 10 days over the past decade. Formerly quite rare before very late April, but now with a number of records prior to 20 April.
habitat Breeds in clean, fast rivers and very large streams.

See also Habitat Account for Piedmont and General Rocky Rivers
behavior Males perch on the ground near rivers, but they also perch on rocks in the rivers. For a clubtail, this species is rather easily observed and photographed, as individuals often perch on dirt roads, trails, and other spots away from the rivers.
comments Until about 10 years ago, the species was known (apparently) only from NC and AL, and presumed to exist only in NC at that time. It has since been found far to the north in NY and NJ. This is, or at least was until about 10 years ago, one of the rarest dragonflies in the eastern United States. It has been found in 17 counties in NC, with photographic documentation for many of them. As mentioned above, the species is clearly on the increase in the state, and is now one of the more readily found clubtails along the larger rivers in the eastern third of the Piedmont. It should be re-ranked by NatureServe as G2G3 or G3, and in late 2018 the NC Natural Heritage Program changed the State Rank from S2 to S3. (It is hardly in danger of extirpation from NC or extinction over its range now.)
state_status SR
S_rank S3
fed_status
G_rank G2 [G3]
synonym Gomphus septima
other_name
Species account update: Howard

Photo Gallery for Septima's Clubtail

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2019-06-01, Donnaha Paddle Access, Yadkin River @ NC 67
Photo by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2019-05-16, Eno River State Park Cole Mile Road - female
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2019-05-03, Eno River at Eno River State Park (ENRI) Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Davidson, 2019-05-01, Yadkin River (Tuckertown Lake) below High Rock Lake dam
Photo by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Orange, 2019-04-28, ENRI - Powerline cut off Old Cole Mill Road
Photo by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Durham, 2019-04-28, Penny's Bend - Male eating a moth
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Lee, 2018-05-12, Deep River Park/Camelback Bridge
Photo by: M. Turner, J. Daigle, T. Schoch, T. Deering

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, Deep River Park/Camelback Bridge
Photo by: Tim Deering/Jerrell Daigle

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, Camelback Bridge Landing, Deep River
Photo by: Mike Turner and Randy Emmitt

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-05, White Pines Nature Preserve - plus 5 that were probably this species but didn't see well enough for positive ID
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-05, Deep River Park - males
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-29, Uwharrie River @ Low Water Bridge - ad.male
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-21, Uwharrie River at Low Water Bridge - male
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-21, Uwharrie River at Low Water Bridge - male
Photo by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-28, Swepsonville River Park - old females
Photo by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-28, Swepsonville River Park - old females
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2017-05-03, Hanging Rock State Park - male, first county record; Moratoc Park. Brian has a real nice photo
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Rockingham, 2017-05-02, Mayo River State Park - male, first county record. Below the boiling hole, a class 3 rapid just a few hundred feet south of bridge
Photo by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Alamance, 2017-04-15, - Single male photographed at Swepsonville River Park on Haw River, other similarly colored/sized clubtails flying, presumed to be same species.
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Montgomery, 2016-04-05, Uwharrie National Forest, NC 109 at Uwharrie River Bridge. 2 females. Photo.
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2015-05-13, Haw River at Swepsonville. Perched on rock in river about 100 meters downstream from the bridge. Accessible from the Swepsonville River Park Trail. - Female.
Photo by: Rick Cheicante

Comment: Halifax; P, 2015-05-03,
Photo by: Rick Cheicante

Comment: Halifax; P, 2015-05-03,
Photo by: Alicia Jackson-Home

Comment: Moore; P, 2014-05-03, Rascob Road at a tributary of the Deep River
Photo by: Brena Jones and Ryan Heise, NCWRC

Comment: Richmond; C, 2013-04-19, Landed on electrofishing boat - male
Photo by: Brena Jones and Ryan Heise, NCWRC

Comment: Richmond; C, 2013-04-19, Landed on electrofishing boat - male
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Wake, 2012-05-03, Below Falls Dam along the Neuse River - Female
Photo by: Steve Hall

Comment: Montgomery, 2011-06-02, Uwharrie River
Photo by: Carol Clemens

Comment: Nash, 2011-04-12, Rocky Mount - photo from BugGuide webpage
Photo by: S. Garriock

Comment: Wake, 2009-05-15, G. septima, male, Neuse River near Falls Lake Dam, Wake Co. NC.
Photo by: S. Garriock

Comment: Chatham, 2009-04-28, Gomphus septima, female, 5 km SW Siler City, Chatham Co., NC
Photo by: H. LeGrand

Comment: Lee Co., 2003-04-29 - Endor Iron Furnace preserve
Photo by: M. Turner, J. Daigle, T. Schoch, S. Daniel, K. Larsen

Comment: Harnett; P, 2018-05-10, Cape Fear River Trail; Erwin, NC - 10 tenerals on river, 5 adults near parking lot