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 = 5

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Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes) 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 Unicorn Clubtail
flight charts
distribution The mountain region, the northern Piedmont, and the adjacent northern Coastal Plain. A record from Bladen County seems odd, and it is not in Cuyler's specimen collection. Additional records in the past few years have extended the range slightly southward, to Guilford, Alamance, Orange, and Durham counties. NC lies at the southeastern edge of the species' range.
abundance Uncommon (and possibly local) in the mountains, but probably very rare to rare in the southwestern counties. Seemingly very rare eastward in the Piedmont near the VA border, to Rockingham County; rare to locally uncommon (but increasing) in the northeastern Piedmont, but currently no Piedmont records for the southern 70% of the province. In the Coastal Plain, apparently rare south to Washington County; however, there are no records since 1998, and thus its current status in that province is not known.
flight The mountain flight occurs from late May to late July. The Piedmont flight is earlier -- late April or early May to mid-June (and likely into July). Not surprisingly, the Coastal Plain flight is even earlier -- mid-April to mid-June.
habitat Generally a lake and pond species, or slow streams; muddy bottom waters preferred.
behavior Occurs around ponds and lakes, perching on the ground or on vegetation around the water's edge. It seems to favor small ponds in sunny locations, often in somewhat disturbed situations.
comments Until 15-20 years ago, this species had an unusual range in the state, being found mainly in the mountains and the northern Coastal Plain, at least based on Duncan Cuyler's records. However, in the past few years there have been a modest number of records, mainly made by John Petranka, from the northeastern Piedmont, such that the former large gap between the mountains and Coastal Plain has now been mostly filled in. Unless data are uncovered soon for the Bladen County "record", we will likely remove it from the database; this county lies far to the south of any other known records.

There are enough recent records that the species was removed from the state's Watch List, in late 2020.
state_status
S_rank S3
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 2021-02-02 16:25:18

Photo Gallery for Unicorn Clubtail   37 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Max Ramey, Aaron Reb

Comment: Watauga, 2021-07-17, Bass Lake
Photo 2 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-08, Hot Springs area
Photo 3 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-02, Hot Springs area, French Broad River
Photo 4 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Richard Stickney

Comment: Durham, 2020-05-17, pond at Penny's Bend - male, ate a female spreadwing at one point
Photo 5 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Richard Stickney

Comment: Durham, 2020-05-17, pond at Penny's Bend - male, ate a female spreadwing at one point
Photo 6 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Richard Stickney

Comment: Durham, 2020-05-17, pond at Penny's Bend - male, ate a female spreadwing at one point
Photo 7 by: David Bednar

Comment: Orange, 2020-04-26, Private pond about a mile south of Little River Regional Park and Natural Area. - Male. Emerging adult and exuviae.
Photo 8 by: David Bednar

Comment: Orange, 2020-04-26, Private pond about a mile south of Little River Regional Park and Natural Area. - Male. Emerging adult and exuviae.
Photo 9 by: Pete Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-29, River Road, 1:30-4:30pm, Broadwing farm to Murray Branch, sunny, high 80s
Photo 10 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Orange, 2019-05-07, Brumley Forest Preserve.
Photo 11 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Macon, 2018-06-27, Cliffside Lake at Cliffside Lake Recreation Area, ca. 4 miles NW of Highlands. - Males
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers - First record for county
Photo 13 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Guilford, 2018-06-06, retention pond at SR 2832 @ I 785/840
Photo 14 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Guilford, 2018-05-23, Northeast Park. Pond alongside west side of loop road. - Males.
Photo 15 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Rockingham, 2018-05-22, Pond at Dan River Campground. End of Webster Road, east of Mayodan. - Males.
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields and Hunter Phillips

Comment: Rockingham, 2018-05-13, Mayo River State Park (MARI) - Mayo Mountain Access - female observed ovipositing in pond near park office
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Rutherford; P, 2017-06-02, Morse Park, Lake Lure - male eating a female Common Baskettail
Photo 18 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Orange, 2017-05-06, Occoneechee Mt. State Natural Area - teneral
Photo 19 by: Timothy Deering

Comment: Buncombe, 2016-06-16, Farm Pond, Dark Hollow Creek.
Photo 20 by: Jim Petranka

Comment: Madison, 2015-06-05, Pond at junction of US Alternate 23 and Laurel Valley Road. - New record for Madison Co.
Photo 21 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2015-05-28, at Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area - several years in a row
Photo 22 by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2015-05-13, Cedarock Park. Pond near the picnic shelter; seen around the footbridge at end away from the dam. - Males.
Photo 23 by: John Petranka

Comment: Granville, 2015-05-11, Lake Holt (aka Lake Butner). Small pond on the right as you drive through the gate. None seen on the lakeshore proper. - Males. Perched on vegetation and on floating leaves/algal mats near shore. First record for Granville County.
Photo 24 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2015-05-09, Horton Grove Preserve; Sowell Trail Pond - Males. Perched on vegetation and on floating leaf near shore. First record for Durham County.
Photo 25 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2014-05-17, Gold Park, Hillsborough. One male sighted on a lily pad in the storm water control pond adjacent to the dog park.
Photo 26 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2013-06-16, Fletcher Park, Fletcher - Male
Photo 27 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Rockingham, 2012-05-21, Mayo River State Park at a pond shoreline; photo
Photo 28 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2011-06-14, imaged at Beaver Lake, Asheville
Photo 29 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2011-06-10, all at Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo 30 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2009-06-11, very cooperative, landed a few times along pond - imaged at Owen Park, Asheville