Minnesota Dragonfly

Common Sanddragon

Progomphus obscurus

The Common Sanddragon is a slender brown and yellow Clubtail with cream colored claspers. Currently there are no records of this species in Minnesota, however they have been found just over the border in Wisconsin. As their name would suggest they are usually found around sandy lakes, rivers and streams

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Field Marks
  • Average adult size is from approximately 1.8 to 2.1 inches
  • Face is pale below with yellow at the front of the frons, becoming brown at the back
  • Yellowish-green eyes
  • Yellow thorax with broad, connected shoulder stripes and mid stripes connected at the bottom
  • Small yellow spot at the joint of the hind legs
  • Black patches at the base of the wings
  • Dark abdomen with yellow triangular top spots, that look like lit candles, on segment 2-7, segments 8 to 10 all dark
  • Small side spots possible on segments 7 and 8
  • Claspers are cream-colored

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Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Brown to tan eyes
  • Female has less tapered abdomen with 2 cream colored side stripes on segment 9, segment 10 is cream colored with a brown base and 2 brown spots and cream colored terminal appendages
  • Subgenital plates are small, covering less than a quarter of the length of segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


The Common Sanddragon is most active during the midday. When not patrolling over the water they can usually by found perched on the sand, rock, or low on vegetation near the water. They can often be witnessed perched in obelisk, with their abdomens pointing towards the sun, to keep cool on warm days


Sandy-bottomed lakes, rivers and streams


Mating can take up to 15 minutes, with males removing any sperm packets deposited by rivals in any previous coupling. Females lay eggs by flying fast and low over the water and tapping their abdomen on the surface dropping eggs. This is one of the only Clubtail species in North America where the males frequently guard the females while they lay eggs, preventing other males from mating with the female until after she has finished ovipositing

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.