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 = 5
Added in 2020 from previous year = 1 (2019-05-05)

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Cocoa Clubtail (Gomphurus hybridus) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Splendid Clubtail   Cobra Clubtail   Blackwater Clubtail   Septima's 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 Cocoa Clubtail
distribution Present over much of the central and western Coastal Plain and eastern/central portion of the Piedmont, but with large gaps in the range (such as the well-studied northeastern Piedmont). The range in the Coastal Plain is expanding northward, as many new records came from the Roanoke River area in 2012; the species was previously known northward only to the Neuse River area. In fact, until 2013, Virginia had no records; however, there are now five records for the southeastern and central parts of that state. A number of new records have also been made in the Piedmont in recent years, including first county records for Richmond and Forsyth in 2019. Perhaps the species is expanding the range westward into the Piedmont, as it seems to be doing northward in the Coastal Plain. Still, the lack of records for the northeastern Piedmont is puzzling, though a few should be made in the next few years there.
abundance Common, at least locally, along the upper part of the Roanoke River (Halifax and Northampton counties). Uncommon and local in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, but rare and local in the Piedmont portion of the range. Dunkle (2000) considers the species to be fairly common, whereas in GA Beaton (2007) say it is uncommon in the Coastal Plain but rare elsewhere.
flight Spring season only; the known dates in NC range from 12 April to 31 May.
habitat Large or medium rivers with silty or sandy bottoms. Most sites are along brownwater rivers, but a few have been at blackwater sites.
behavior Males spend little time in flight patrols over the water. Teneral individuals, as well as adults, often forage hundreds of yards away from rivers, such as along clearings, dirt tracks, and forest openings. It is an unwary species and can be easily approached on the ground.
comments This is one of the relatively few clubtails to be found along slow-moving rivers and large creeks in the Coastal Plain. (The majority of clubtails are found in the mountains and Piedmont, and near faster waters.) Randy Emmitt photographed one, on 3 May, at Kinston in Lenoir County; and Beth Brinson extended the known range to the north with a photograph taken in Davidson County in 2008. Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand found it commonly on several spring dates in 2012 at sites within 1/2-mile of the Roanoke River, for a notable northward range extension. As it has been found in VA in 2013, 2016, and 2017, it is obviously moving northward.

The species is still on the NC Natural Heritage Program Watch List, but as it is clearly moving northward, if not also westward into the central Piedmont, it is uncertain if it will remain on that list. As there are just 38 records (with dates) as of 2019, the species probably should stay on that list for another year.
state_status W
S_rank S3
fed_status
G_rank G4
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym Gomphus hybridus
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand1234

Photo Gallery for Cocoa Clubtail

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

Comment: Anson, 2020-05-02, Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge-Leak's Ferry Rd.
Photo by: Will Stuart

Comment: Anson, 2020-04-26, Leaks Ferry Road near the Pee Dee River overlook, Pee Dee NWR - Poor angle, Could not approach.
Photo by: Mark Kosiewski

Comment: Bertie, 2019-05-05, Roanoke River at Conine Bend, just northeast of Williamston. - Male.
Photo by: Harry LeGrand, Bruce Smithson, et al.

Comment: Richmond; P, 2019-05-03, Pee Dee River Game Land at the Diggs tract boat ramp - Bruce Smithson photo
Photo by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Bladen, 2019-04-16, Jones Lake State Park (JONE) - males. One perched on gravel road at boat ramp, other on trail to fishing pier
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Caswell, 2018-05-31, Dan River @ NC57 - female
Photo by: E. Corey, H. Wallace

Comment: Duplin, 2018-05-14, Found on private property along the NE Cape Fear
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Davie, 2018-04-22, S. Yadkin River @ Cooleemee boating access - male netted photographed and released
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2017-04-16, Cape Fear River at Lock and Dam #2, Elizabethtown
Photo by: Rick Cheicante

Comment: Halifax; P, 2015-05-03,
Photo by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Bladen, 2014-05-25, - 1 male, 1 female
Photo by: Timothy Deering

Comment: Pender, 2014-04-21, NE Cape Fear River, Holly Shelter Game Lands
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Bladen, 2013-04-26, Cape fear river, Elwell ferry crossing
Photo by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Northampton, 2012-05-08, Observed along a gravel road leading to the Confederate Earth Works on the Roanoke River
Photo by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Davidson, 2008-05-10, Male
Photo by: R Emmitt

Comment: Neuseway Nature Park, 2002-05-03
Photo by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Halifax, 2012-04-12, - Common in powerline clearing and light gaps in forest adjacent to Roanoke River