The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 188 Odonate species

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Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 0

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Zebra Clubtail (Stylurus scudderi) by John Petranka, Sally Gewalt
Compare with:   Distinctive
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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 Zebra Clubtail
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distribution Mountain province only; probably occurring throughout the mountains, as there are several county records for northern GA. Though there is a large gap between the two clusters of mountain records, and Buncombe and Madison counties have been fairly well worked for odonates, it is highly unlikely that this species is absent there or any rarer there than near the VA and GA borders. This is a Northern species, and NC lies near the southern edge of the range. A new county record for Graham County in 2019 gives hope that the species is currently present in the southern parts of the mountains.
abundance Very rare or rare; known from just nine of the mountain counties. Dunkle (2000) calls the species as "fairly common" over its range, though clearly in NC it is nowhere this numerous, as there are just 7-8 recent records, all but one from the same area in Watauga County.
flight In NC this is a late-flying clubtail; all records with dates are from early August to late September. Note -- the three records for June, all from Transylvania County, are for exuviae -- the shed "skins" of nymphs -- not adults.
habitat Cool, swiftly flowing creeks and smaller rivers, in forested areas.
behavior Males perch on low sites, such as twigs, leaves, and at times on the ground. They make short patrols over riffles of the creeks.
comments This is one of many clubtails that is essentially restricted to the mountains in NC, and therefore is known to very few people. Fortunately, the species (especially a male) is easy to identify by the bold pale rings around abdominal segments and the fairly wide club. Adults are considered to be a bit wary, and thus the species is probably not as scarce in NC as the few records imply. Teddy Wilcox provided our first recent record(s), observing and photographing one individual on five dates in late summer and fall 2016 along the Boone Greenway. He rightly wondered if a single Zebra Clubtail was responsible for each of these sightings, spread out over a span of dates ranging from 31 August to 20 September. No matter the answer, he has provided the first known photos of this species in the state. A year later, John Petranka and Sally Gewalt found a few individuals in the same general area of Watauga County. Owen McConnell photographed one that came to a moth sheet at his cabin in Graham County in 2019, a very rare and fortuitous record!

The previous State Rank of S2? was a bit too liberal, despite the new Graham County record. Though there are only two sites with recent records, it is likely not well surveyed, as the flight in very late summer takes places after most of the odonate field work in the mountains. And with scattered records from nine counties, though most are old, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program has moved the State Rank to S1S2 in late 2020.
state_status SR
S_rank S1S2
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-05 12:58:30

Photo Gallery for Zebra Clubtail   9 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Watauga, 2020-09-08, Valle Crucis. Dutch Creek about 100m upstream from its confluence with the Watauga River. - Male.
Photo 2 by: Owen and Pat McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2019-08-06, 4950 West Buffalo Rd. Hanging on UV sheet on porch of cabin at 6:41 A.M. - Swift-flowing W. Buffalo Creek was just 20 feet away
Photo 3 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Watauga, 2017-09-18, Boone Greenway along S. Fork New River - males; 1 patrolling, 1 perched on rock by river
Photo 4 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Watauga, 2017-09-18, Boone Greenway along S. Fork New River - males; 1 patrolling, 1 perched on rock by river
Photo 5 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Watauga, 2017-09-04, South Fork of the New River, Clawson-Burnley Park, Boone. - Males. Perched on low (1-2 feet above water) overhanging tree branches and on logs along shoreline of the South Fork of the New River. Males interacted aggressively, but both allowed me to approach closely. One crawled onto my finger and allowed me to reposition him to a more photogenic perch!
Photo 6 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Watauga, 2017-09-04, South Fork of the New River, Clawson-Burnley Park, Boone. - Males. Perched on low (1-2 feet above water) overhanging tree branches and on logs along shoreline of the South Fork of the New River. Males interacted aggressively, but both allowed me to approach closely. One crawled onto my finger and allowed me to reposition him to a more photogenic perch!
Photo 7 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Watauga, 2017-09-04, South Fork of the New River, Clawson-Burnley Park, Boone. - Males. Perched on low (1-2 feet above water) overhanging tree branches and on logs along shoreline of the South Fork of the New River. Males interacted aggressively, but both allowed me to approach closely. One crawled onto my finger and allowed me to reposition him to a more photogenic perch!
Photo 8 by: Teddy Wilcox

Comment: Watauga, 2016-09-07, Boone Greenway - same individual as in previous week?
Photo 9 by: Teddy Wilcox

Comment: Watauga, 2016-09-05, Boone Greenway - same individual as a few days ago?