Minnesota Dragonfly

Plains Clubtail

Gomphurus externus

The Plains Clubtail is a large Clubtail typically found around muddy bottomed streams and rivers with a moderate current. Mostly found in southern parts of Minnesota. It was moved from the genus Gomphus to the new genus Gomphurus


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 2 to 2.4 inches
  • Yellow face with no facial markings
  • Turquoise blue eyes
  • Yellow thorax with bold shoulder stripes, connected at the top, and wide mid stripes that are seperate
  • Black legs with yellow line on tibiae
  • Dark abdomen with lance-style yellow top spots on segments 3 to 7
  • Moderate club with a triangular top spot on segment 8, a rectangular top spot on segment 9, and a spot on segment 10
  • Epiproct is wider than the cerci when viewed from above
  • Yellow patches on the sides of segments 8 and 9. Mostly complete width on segment 8 and entire width on segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Turquoise blue eyes
  • Small horns near eyes in front of occiput
  • Subgenital plates equal to about half the length of segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Males perch on the ground near the water occasionally making long patrols out over the water. Can also be found away from the water perching on the ground or flat on leaves that are typically close to the ground


Muddy-bottomed rivers and large streams with a moderate current


Mating usually takes place low in vegetation near the water. Females lay eggs by flying straight over the water and dipping their abdomen as they fly.

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.