Minnesota Dragonfly

Dusky Clubtail

Phanogomphus spicatus

The Dusky Clubtail was moved from the genus Gomphus to the new genus Phanogomphus. Their dull brown and yellow coloration makes them look different than most other species of Clubtails in the area, which can help to identify them, although they are quite similar looking to the Ashy Clubtail


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is from approximately 1.8 to 2.2 inches
  • Face primarily yellow with no distinct markings
  • Eyes blue
  • Thorax yellow with brown stripes
  • Thoracic stripes wide and fused together in pairs, making the thorax appear to be dull brown
  • Brown abdomen with spear-shaped yellow top spots through segment 7
  • Segment 8 has a small triangular top spot
  • Segment 9 has little to no yellow
  • Segment 10 has a pale yellow stripe down the center
  • Black claspers have a downward spike protruding from the bottom of the cerci

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Female has a tiara shaped occiput (higher in the center with depressions on either side)
  • The line on segment 10 is more pronounced, almost oval in shape
  • Medium sized subgenital plates

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

  • Ashy Clubtail
  • Dusky Clubtail males have a downward pointing tooth on the underside of the cerci, Ashy Clubtail males do not
  • Dusky Clubtail females have a tiara shaped occiput, the Ashy Clubtail female's occiput is convex shaped
  • Lancet Clubtail
  • The Lancet Clubtail is typically smaller
  • The Dusky Clubtail male has downward pointing tooth on the underside of the cerci, the Lancet Clubtail has lance shaped cerci without a tooth
  • Dusky Clubtail female have a tiara shaped occiput, the Lancet Clubtail female's occiput is mostly straight across.
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons

Natural History


Males perch low in the vegetation, on water lilies or on the ground near their wetland habitats. Females, immatures, and males who are not mating can often be found away from the water frequently perched in the sun on dirt or gravel roads and paths


Lakes with sandy shores, boggy ponds and slow moving streams


Females lay eggs by dipping abdomen into the waters of appropriate habitat

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.