Minnesota Dragonfly

Lancet Clubtail

Phanogomphus exilis

A small dark Clubtail with blue eyes that is common throughout most of its range. The Lancet Clubtail was moved from the genus Gomphus to the new genus Phanogomphus. The Lancet Club is smaller than all of the other Phanogomphus in the area except for the Rapids Clubtail, which is around the same size


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.5 to 1.9 inches
  • Pale yellow and white face with no facial markings
  • Blue eyes
  • Greenish yellow thorax with the front pair of thoracic stripes slightly separated and the second pair connected, widening at the base
  • Brown legs with pale tibiae
  • Dark abdomen, that is narrowly clubbed, with yellow lance shaped top spots on segments 3-8
  • Segment 9 is mostly yellow on top with a yellow spot on segment 10
  • The sides of segment 8 and 9 are covered by bright yellow patches
  • The lancet shaped cerci on the claspers is where the species gets its common name

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Female has a slight notch in the center of her occiput
  • Legs are pale in both sections not just in the tibiae like the male
  • Small triangular subgenital plates

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

  • Ashy Clubtail
  • The Lancet Clubtail is typically smaller
  • The Lancet Clubtail usually has a slim but noticeable separation between the first two thoracic stripes, the Ashy Clubtail has little to no separation
  • The Lancet Clubtail male has lance shaped cerci, the Ashy Clubtail male has very plain cerci
  • Dusky 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
  • Lancet Clubtail females have a mostly straight occiput, the Dusky Clubtail female's occiput is tiara shaped
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons

Natural History


Males do not typically patrol over the water, instead they perch on the ground or rocks facing the water. Males and females can also often be found perched on dirt roads or sandy beaches near the water. When disturbed they usually fly up high into the trees.


Slow moving wetlands such as boggy ponds, sandy lakes and slow moving vegetated streams


Females lay eggs by flying quickly and dipping their abdomen into open water. While ovipositing females will often perch or hover for a short time to build up their production of eggs

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.