Minnesota Dragonfly

Pygmy Snaketail

Ophiogomphus howei

The Pygmy Snaketail is one of the smallest clubtails in North America. They have a green thorax, black abdomen with yellow top spots and moderate clubbing and an orange tint to the base of the hind wings.


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.2 to 1.3 inches
  • Face pale to white below with green frons
  • Grey-green eyes
  • Green thorax with well developed shoulder stripes that connect at the bottom
  • 3rd thoracic stripe is either broken or incomplete 4th is narrow but complete
  • Dark abdomen with candle shaped top spots on segments 3 to 7 dash on segment 8 and a dot on segments 9 and 10
  • Pale side patches on segments 7 to 9
  • Forked Cerci

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Pygmy Snaketails spend most of their time in the tree tops. Males will patrol over the water but patrol times are short and then they head back to cover. Pygmy Snaketails have two distinct populations the ones in this area, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are a part of the western population


Clear, clean moderate to large rivers with shallow riffles and a sandy or gravel bottom


Females lay eggs by flying swiftly in a circular pattern over the current and dipping their abdomen

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.