Minnesota Dragonfly

Boreal Snaketail

Ophiogomphus colubrinus

The Boreal Snaketail has a green face and eyes, bright green thorax , and a dark abdomen with pale 'T' shaped top spots. They get their common name because they are a northern species that is found primarily in boreal regions. They can be found further north than any other Clubtail species.

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Field Marks
  • Average adult size is from 1.7 to 1.9 inches
  • Green eyes and face
  • Prominent crossline and facial markings
  • Green thorax with the third thoracic stripe extending only partially up from the bottom
  • Legs black with tan on femur
  • Abdomen brown with candle shaped top spots on segment 3-7
  • Segment 8's top spot is more rectangular, while segments 9 and 10 are more circular
  • White side spots on all segments
  • Claspers tan color, outlined in black
  • Female similar to male except for thicker abdomen, less prominent club, and brown horns on occiput

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Green face, not blue green like males
  • Abdomen less clubbed than males
  • Small terminal appendages
  • Subgenital plates are pale and come together at black tips

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Boreal Snaketails are most active in the morning and early afternoon. Males patrol their territory, flying over the water and stopping occasionally to hover. When not in flight they tend to perch low, typically on the ground or low in the bushes, except for immature who spend most of their time high in the trees


Clear, cold northern streams and rivers with a swift current and gravelly bottom


Females lay eggs by tapping the water with their abdomen, usually in or upstream of riffles. In between laying they will stop and perch on rocks in the water to produce more eggs before continuing to oviposit

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.