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 = 2

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Spine-crowned Clubtail (Hylogomphus abbreviatus) by John Petranka
Compare with: Banner Clubtail   Piedmont 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 females.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Spine-crowned Clubtail
flight charts
distribution Found only in the central and eastern Piedmont and the extreme southwestern corner of the Coastal Plain (at least in the Sandhills).
abundance Rare to uncommon in the eastern half of the Piedmont, and very rare in the southwestern Coastal Plain. However, it is easily overlooked or confused with other species. It can be common at a very few sites, as there are three recent double-digit counts, and another of 8 individuals, in three counties. Duncan Cuyler made several dozen collections in the lower Piedmont a few decades ago; but until about 2016, however, very little was known about this species in NC. Thankfully, the past few years have seen quite a few new records, many documented by photographs.
flight Spring season only. The flight occurs from early April to early June. The peak was formerly during the first 20 days of May, but there are many recent April records, and the state high count was made on 2 April, our earliest state record!
habitat This is another riverine species, favoring fast-flowing rivers and large streams.

See also Habitat Account for Piedmont and General Rocky Rivers
behavior Seen mainly at or near streams, on rocks or vegetation. Dunkle (2000) states that males are most active in the late afternoon.
comments As with most clubtails, even ones with a range in the eastern Piedmont (where the greatest number of odonate biologists live and conduct field work), this is a somewhat poorly known species, at least by observers and photographers. Most clubtails are difficult to identify unless netted or collected and then studied in the hand. This species looks quite similar to the Piedmont Clubtail, and it can also be confused with Banner Clubtail. Though its range extends from SC northward into Canada, it has a somewhat narrow east-west range, barely ranging west to OH. We have had a number of recent records, thankfully, and thus its range and abundance are becoming better known.
state_status W
S_rank S3S4 [S3]
fed_status
G_rank G4
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym Gomphus abbreviatus
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2020-05-18 12:49:29

Photo Gallery for Spine-crowned Clubtail   25 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Leah Purvis

Comment: Chatham, 2020-04-03, Lower Haw River SNA. Along Lower Haw River Trail about 0.5 miles downstream from Bynum trailhead. Lat: 35.766 Long: -79.135 - Male.
Photo 2 by: Will Bennett

Comment: Durham, 2020-03-28, Along the Eno River at Penny's Bend Nature Preserve. - Male.
Photo 3 by: John Petranka

Comment: Caswell, 2019-04-30, NC 62 at Country Line Creek. About 1.2 miles south of Main Street in Yanceyville. - Males.
Photo 4 by: John Petranka

Comment: Caswell, 2019-04-30, NC 62 at Country Line Creek. About 1.2 miles south of Main Street in Yanceyville. - Males.
Photo 5 by: John Petranka

Comment: Caswell, 2019-04-30, NC 62 at Country Line Creek. About 1.2 miles south of Main Street in Yanceyville. - Males.
Photo 6 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2018-05-11, Eno River, Eno River SP Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo 7 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2018-05-11, Eno River, Eno River SP Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo 8 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2018-05-11, Eno River, Eno River SP Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alamance, 2018-04-14, Haw River @ NC 54, Graham Paddle Access - tenerals; 2 male 4 female netted, ID'd and released; 8 other unid. tenerals flying around resembling abbreviatus, 35 Hylogomphus sp. exuvia along ~500' of river bank
Photo 10 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alamance, 2018-04-12, Haw River @ NC 54, Graham Paddle Access - teneral female; netted, photographed and released
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alamance, 2018-04-12, Haw River @ NC 54, Graham Paddle Access - teneral female; netted, photographed and released
Photo 12 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Davie, 2017-06-02, South Yadkin River at Bullhole River Park, Cooleemee. - Female. Found dead below the dam. First photo shows lateral view and macros show the short spines at the base of the occiput and short basal plate.
Photo 13 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Davie, 2017-06-02, South Yadkin River at Bullhole River Park, Cooleemee. - Female. Found dead below the dam. First photo shows lateral view and macros show the short spines at the base of the occiput and short basal plate.
Photo 14 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Alamance, 2017-04-15, - Several males seen/photographed along Haw River at Swepsonville River Park
Photo 15 by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2017-04-03, Eno River State Park, Cole Mill section. Along the powerline corridor between Old Cole Mill Road and Bobbit Hole area. - Both sexes. Female photographed. Females can be difficult to separate from other Hylogomphus species, so macros are included showing the diagnostic short basal plate and the short spines at the base of the occiput.
Photo 16 by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2017-04-03, Eno River State Park, Cole Mill section. Along the powerline corridor between Old Cole Mill Road and Bobbit Hole area. - Both sexes. Female photographed. Females can be difficult to separate from other Hylogomphus species, so macros are included showing the diagnostic short basal plate and the short spines at the base of the occiput.
Photo 17 by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2016-04-11, Eno River State Park Cole Mill section along Cole Mill Trail near county line. Female. No males seen. Photo.
Photo 18 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2016-04-10, Eno River State Park Cole Mill section along Bobbit Hole Trail. 2 females, no males seen. Photo.
Photo 19 by: John Petranka

Comment: Montgomery, 2016-04-05, Uwharrie NF along FS Rd. 555 just downstream from confluence of Moccasin Creek with Uwharrie River. Males and females. Photo.
Photo 20 by: John Petranka

Comment: Montgomery, 2016-04-05, Uwharrie NF along FS Rd. 555 just downstream from confluence of Moccasin Creek with Uwharrie River. Males and females. Photo.
Photo 21 by: John Petranka

Comment: Montgomery, 2016-04-05, Uwharrie NF along FS Rd. 555 just downstream from confluence of Moccasin Creek with Uwharrie River. Males and females. Photo.
Photo 22 by: John Petranka

Comment: Montgomery, 2016-04-05, Uwharrie NF along FS Rd. 555 just downstream from confluence of Moccasin Creek with Uwharrie River. Males and females. Photo.
Photo 23 by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Wake, 2012-04-16, Below Falls Dam along the Neuse River
Photo 24 by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Wake, 2012-04-16, Below Falls Dam along the Neuse River
Photo 25 by: Matthew Daw

Comment: Wake, 2010-05-10, FALA - Neuse River below dam