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 added in 2020 = 4

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Cobra Clubtail (Gomphurus vastus) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Blackwater Clubtail   Splendid Clubtail   Midland Clubtail   Septima's Clubtail   Cocoa Clubtail  
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 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 Cobra Clubtail
flight charts
distribution Widely scattered over the western two-thirds of the state, east barely into the western Coastal Plain. Interestingly, nearly all of the mountain and western Piedmont records have come in the past few years, suggesting a possible westward range expansion in the state, though most range maps show the species occurring over the majority of the eastern United States. Likely absent at middle and higher elevations in the mountains. A puzzling scarcity of records from the middle of this range in the state -- such as the central Piedmont -- though 2019 records for Caswell and Wilkes counties somewhat reduced this gap.
abundance Uncommon in the eastern Piedmont. Rare to locally uncommon elsewhere in the mountains and Piedmont, though can be numerous along the French Broad River in Madison and Buncombe counties. Very rare in the western part of the Coastal Plain, as well as in the southwestern mountains (where there are as yet no records).
flight Mostly early May to mid-July, with an early date of 20 April. A seemingly quite late record on 8 August is open to question, though there are now a number of records for mid-July.
habitat Breeds at rivers and large streams, where rocky or with riffles.

See also Habitat Account for Piedmont and General Rocky Rivers
behavior Males perch along the shore on the ground, or on rocks in the rivers. They may fly well out over the rivers.
comments This is a very striking species, quite black on the abdomen with very contrasting yellow markings. And, the male's club is very wide -- cobra-like, giving rise to the common name. Even so, there are a few other clubtails (such as Skillet, Splendid, and Blackwater) with wide clubs, and thus sight records must be made with care. Indeed, a few photos on this website have been re-evaluated by experts (in late 2016), and several photos reported as other species have been determined to be Cobra Clubtails by website editors/reviewers.
state_status
S_rank S3S4
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym Gomphus vastus
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand1234

Photo Gallery for Cobra Clubtail   46 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Ella Adamson, Zoey York

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-13, Hot Springs area
Photo 2 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-06, French Broad Hot Springs area
Photo 3 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI
Photo 4 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI
Photo 5 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI; photo by K. Kittelberger
Photo 6 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI; photo by K. Kittelberger
Photo 7 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI; photo by K. Kittelberger
Photo 8 by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger

Comment: Alleghany, 2020-06-03, NERI; photo by K. Kittelberger
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2019-05-26, Lowe's Rivers Edge Park; Wilkesboro, NC
Photo 10 by: Pete Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-13, River Road, Murray Branch Meadows
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-07-20, Pilot Mountain S.P.; river section
Photo 12 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-07-15, New River @ SR 1345 (Farmers Fish Camp Rd.)
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Richmond; P, 2018-07-06, Pee Dee River; 2 km stretch upstream from Diggs Tract Access, by kayak - males. First record for county.
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Anson, 2018-07-06, Pee Dee River; 2 km stretch upstream from Diggs Tract Access, by kayak
Photo 15 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-06-24, Park at Yadkin River/NC 67 - all females
Photo 16 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-06-23, Pilot Mountain S.P.-Yadkin River Section
Photo 17 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Surry, 2018-06-10, Crater Park, Yadkin River, Elkin
Photo 18 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Surry, 2018-06-10, Crater Park, Yadkin River, Elkin
Photo 19 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-05-19, New River @ SR 1345 (Farmers Fish Camp Rd.) - all tenerals; at least 10 Gomphurus emerging but too young to be sure of species
Photo 20 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-05-19, New River @ SR 1345 (Farmers Fish Camp Rd.) - all tenerals; at least 10 Gomphurus emerging but too young to be sure of species
Photo 21 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-05-19, New River @ SR 1345 (Farmers Fish Camp Rd.) - all tenerals; at least 10 Gomphurus emerging but too young to be xure of species
Photo 22 by: M. Turner, J. Daigle, T. Schoch, S. Daniel, K. Larsen

Comment: Harnett; C, 2018-05-10, Cape Fear River Trail; Erwin, NC - ad.males and teneral
Photo 23 by: M. Turner, J. Daigle, T. Schoch, S. Daniel, K. Larsen

Comment: Harnett; C, 2018-05-10, Cape Fear River Trail; Erwin, NC - ad.males and teneral
Photo 24 by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin

Comment: Madison, 2017-05-20, On concrete bridge at junction of the Ivy River and French Broad River.
Photo 25 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Surry, 2017-05-17,
Photo 26 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Union, 2017-05-15, Rocky River at Randolph Landing, Rocky River Blueway Access and Nature Park
Photo 27 by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin

Comment: Madison, 2016-07-12, Resting on a shrub along the French Broad River near Hot Springs.
Photo 28 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka

Comment: Ashe, 2016-05-23, New River State Park Wagoner Access; trail along river. Female. Photo.
Photo 29 by: Janie Owens

Comment: Madison, 2015-06-18, Along French Broad River near Hot Springs - eating a Green-faced Clubtail
Photo 30 by: Janie Owens

Comment: Madison, 2015-06-18, Along French Broad River near Hot Springs - eating a Green-faced Clubtail