Minnesota Dragonfly

Rusty Snaketail

Ophiogomphus rupinsulensis

The Rusty Snaketail is the most common Snaketail found throughout much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are fairly easy to distinguish from other species of Snaketail because their abdomen is more of a rusty brown color compared to the black and yellow of other local Snaketails

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Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.8 to 2.1 inches
  • Face is pale to white underneath with green frons and no facial markings
  • Green eyes
  • Green thorax with faint shoulder stripes and faint or non-existent mid stripes
  • Legs pale with some black on the inside of the tibiae and at the tips
  • Rusty brown abdomen with an indistinct top spot pattern
  • Pale patches on the sides of segment 8 and 9
  • Abdominal clubbing is easy to see from above
  • Tan, hairy claspers

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Female abdomen is generally broader than the males with less clubbing on the end
  • Female abdomen has bold stripes separating the abdominal segments
  • Subgenital plates are long and look like a pair of black tipped demon horns

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Rusty Snaketails are often found perched in the grass in open fields near the water. Males will patrol by sallying forth over riffles from perches in trees on the shoreline or over the water


Medium to large rivers that may be more siltier than other species of Snaketails can tolerate


Mating usually takes place away from the water. Females lay eggs by dipping their abdomens in fast straight flights up current, stopping to perch and produce egg masses in between ovipositing sessions

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.