Minnesota Dragonfly

Skillet Clubtail

Gomphurus ventricosus

The Skillet Clubtail is a dark Clubtail the widest club in the region. It was moved from the genus Gomphus to the new genus Gomphurus. It is easy to distinguish by its wide club but can be mistaken with the cobra Clubtail, which has a similarly wide club


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.9 to 2.1 inches
  • Yellow face with no facial markings with green eyes
  • Wide yellow stripes on the top of the thorax with little black space in between
  • Bold shoulder stripes that connect at top and bottom
  • Middle stripes thin, faint, and often broken, making them hardly visible
  • Black widely clubbed abdomen with lance type top spots on segments 3 to 7, no top spots on segments 8 to 10
  • Large yellow patches on the sides of segment 8 and 9
  • Segment 8 has a distinctive black rim that borders the bottom of the yellow patch

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Hind femur has a yellow line at the base
  • Female's abdomen is less clubbed than the male's
  • Medium sized triangular shaped subgenital plates

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

Cobra Clubtail: The Cobra Clubtail has bold facial markings compared with the Skillet Clubtail's relatively clean face. The yellow stripes on the top of the Cobra Clubtail's thorax are thinner than those of the Skilet Clubtail with less black space in between. The Cobra Clubtail also has a smaller club than the Skillet Clubtail ( the Cobra Clubtail's club is about equal to the width of its thorax where the Skillet Clubtail's club is wider than its thorax ) and the Cobra Clubtail has smaller yellow side spot on segment eight then the Skillet Clubtail does.

Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Midland Clubtail The Midland Clubtail is a common species that is found in many of the same habitats as the Cobra Clubtail. Midland Clubtails are slightly larger and look more yellow than the Skillet Clubtail. Midland Clubtails have a smaller club ( less than the width of their thorax ) and a top spot on segment eight, which is not present on the Skillet Clubtail. The side spot on the Midland Clubtail's segment 8 only covers half the segment but it goes all the way to the edge. The Skillet Clubtail's segment 8 side spot is almost the entire width but it does not go down to the edge. (it is lined with black).

Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Natural History


Rarely seen species even within its range. They often perch low in the grass sally forth over the water in search of prey and then returning to their perch. When disturbed they tend o fly out over the water. They sometimes hunt in fields far from the breeding grounds.


Fast-flowing streams and rivers with sandy or muddy bottoms and good water quality. Can also be found in clean lakes with sandy or calcium-rich bottoms


Females lay eggs by dipping abdomen into the water and releasing the 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.