Minnesota Dragonfly

Twin-spotted Spiketail

Cordulegaster maculata

The Twin-spotted Spiketail is a large dark dragonfly with green eyes that come together in a single point and two yellow thoracic side stripes. It is more common than the Arrowhead Spiketail and can be identified by its abdominal spots which come in pairs

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Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 2.8 inches
  • Green eyes that come together at a single point
  • Mostly yellow face with brown on top of the frons
  • Thorax is dark brown with 2 yellow stripes on top and two straight yellow stripes on the sides
  • Dark brown abdomen with 2 pairs of triangular spots on segments 2 through 4 and a pair of triangular spots on segments 5 through 9
  • Sometimes an extra pair of spots on segment 8
  • Claspers have a downward spike on the bottom of the cerci

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Eyes typically duller in color than males
  • Abdominal spots smaller than those of the male and no spots on segment 9
  • Long spike shaped ovipositor that extends well beyond the end of the abdomen

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Most common spiketail species throughout most of its range. Males typically patrol streams flying low over the water looking for females. Most hunting takes place in forest clearings where it is often found in shadows. Will also fly on cloudy days. They usually begin emerging early in the summer.


Wooded, clear, fast running streams. Woodland clearings.


Mating typically takes place in the tree tops. Females oviposit alone by hovering low over the water and then stabbing there ovipositor into the substrate at the bottom of a stream. They do this repeatedly in quick succession then may move to a new location and repeat the process.

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.