The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records for 2024 = 10

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Interesting Facts about Septima's Clubtail
Septima's Clubtail (Gomphurus septima) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Splendid Clubtail   Cobra Clubtail   Cocoa Clubtail   Blackwater Clubtail   Midland Clubtail  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Septima's Clubtail
Flight Charts
Distribution Range has been expanding westward into the central and northwestern Piedmont in recent years, and thus now is present over essentially all of the eastern and central Piedmont, as well as into the upper edge of the Coastal Plain along the Roanoke and Cape Fear rivers. The species has a peculiar, disjunct, or relict range, and so far has been found only in NY, PA, NJ, VA, NC, SC, and AL (according to the OdonataCentral map). Thus, DE, MD, and GA lack records; and it has been found in just two counties each in VA, SC, and AL (OdonataCentral map).
Abundance Uncommon to locally fairly common, but widespread, within its NC range; noticeably increasing in the past few years -- a true increase in numbers as opposed to just an increase in search effort. Mainly in the Cape Fear River system -- Haw, Rocky, Deep, and the Cape Fear itself. Rare to uncommon in the Yadkin/Pee Dee River system. Rare in the Neuse, Tar, and Roanoke, where so far found only along these rivers (includes the Eno River as the upper end of the Neuse) and not their tributaries; only recently reported from the latter two rivers. Discovered in the Dan River system in spring 2017, but likely rare to very uncommon there.
Flight Very late March or early April to the end of May, and sparingly to mid-June. The peak in numbers is in late April and early May. The flight period has moved forward (earlier) by a week to 10 days over the past decade. Formerly quite rare before very late April, but now with a number of records prior to 20 April, and our new highest one-day count (34) came on 22 April, in 2022.
Habitat Breeds in clean, fast rivers and very large streams.

See also Habitat Account for Piedmont and General Rocky Rivers
Behavior Males perch on the ground near rivers, but they also perch on rocks in the rivers. For a clubtail, this species is rather easily observed and photographed, as individuals often perch on dirt roads, trails, and other spots away from the rivers.
Comments Until about 30 years ago, the species was known (apparently) only from NC and AL, and presumed to exist only in NC at that time. It has since been found far to the north in NY and NJ. This is, or at least was until about 15 years ago, one of the rarest dragonflies in the eastern United States. It has now been found in 20 counties in NC (new in 2019 in Yadkin and Davidson counties, and new in 2020 in Anson County), with photographic documentation for most of them. As mentioned above, the species is clearly on the increase in the state and is now one of the more readily found clubtails along the larger rivers in the eastern third of the Piedmont. It has recently been re-ranked by NatureServe from G2 to now as G3, and in late 2018 the N.C. Natural Heritage Program changed the State Rank from S2 to S3. (It is hardly in danger of extirpation from NC or extinction over its range now.) Even so, it is still being tracked by that program as Significantly Rare, owing to a small overall global range.
State Rank S3
State Status SR
Global Rank G3
Federal Status
Synonym Gomphus septima
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-10 09:48:24

Photo Gallery for Septima's Clubtail   45 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Steve Hall

Comment: Chatham, 2024-05-12,
Photo 2 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2023-04-17, Duke Forest Road off of University Station Road, near powerline corridor. - female
Photo 3 by: L. Arent

Comment: Harnett; P, 2023-04-15, Raven Rock State Park - Powerline cut on River Rd.
Photo 4 by: Paul Hart

Comment: Harnett; C, 2023-03-28, Cape Fear Shiner County Park
Photo 5 by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2021-05-21, Sunny patches on upland trails near the Haw River at Shallow Ford Natural Area. - Female.
Photo 6 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2021-05-01, Haw River--Bynum Dam - Fairly close estimate over 1 mile of river. Netted/released 1 and photod 5-10 individuals to confirm that essentially all the flying clubtails were Septima's.
Photo 7 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2021-04-11, - Haw River downstream of 64
Photo 8 by: Rob Van Epps, Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Montgomery, 2020-05-16, Low Water Bridge on Uwharrie River
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Anson, 2020-05-02, Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge - Leak's Ferry Rd.
Photo 10 by: Will Stuart

Comment: Anson, 2020-05-01, Seen along Leaks Ferry Road
Photo 11 by: E. Corey

Comment: Cumberland, 2020-04-06, Carvers Creek State Park - Sandhills Tract - Male, first observed eating unidentified damselfly. ID confirmed by Mark Shields, John Petranka, and Harry LeGrand @ -78.873463, 35.177239
Photo 12 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Chatham, 2020-03-29, Bynum Bridge. Trail going east on the south side of the Haw River. - Bynum Bridge
Photo 13 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Chatham, 2020-03-29, White Pines Preserve
Photo 14 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2019-06-01, Donnaha Paddle Access, Yadkin River @ NC 67
Photo 15 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2019-05-16, Eno River State Park - Cole Mile Road - female
Photo 16 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2019-05-03, Eno River at Eno River State Park (ENRI) Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo 17 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Davidson, 2019-05-01, Yadkin River (Tuckertown Lake) below High Rock Lake dam
Photo 18 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Orange, 2019-04-28, Eno River State Park - Powerline cut off Old Cole Mill Road
Photo 19 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Durham, 2019-04-28, Penny's Bend - Male eating a moth
Photo 20 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Lee, 2018-05-12, Deep River Park - Camelback Bridge
Photo 21 by: M. Turner, J. Daigle, T. Schoch, T. Deering

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, Deep River Park -Camelback Bridge
Photo 22 by: Tim Deering/Jerrell Daigle

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, Camelback Bridge Landing, Deep River
Photo 23 by: Mike Turner and Randy Emmitt

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-05, White Pines Nature Preserve - plus 5 that were probably this species but didn't see well enough for positive ID
Photo 24 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-05, Deep River Park - males
Photo 25 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-29, Uwharrie River @ Low Water Bridge - adult male
Photo 26 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-21, Uwharrie River at Low Water Bridge - male
Photo 27 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-04-21, Uwharrie River at Low Water Bridge - male
Photo 28 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-28, Swepsonville River Park - old females
Photo 29 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-28, Swepsonville River Park - old females
Photo 30 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2017-05-03, Hanging Rock State Park - male, first county record; Moratoc Park. Brian has a real nice photo