The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
Home Page Search Odonate Resources
LoginNC Biodiversity Project

North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

«      »

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in CORDULEGASTRIDAE: Number of records for 2023 = 0

PDF has more details,
e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
[View PDF]
Brown Spiketail (Cordulegaster bilineata) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Twin-spotted Spiketail   Arrowhead Spiketail   Tiger Spiketail  
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.

[Google images]     [Global Biodiversity Information Facility]
Click on county for list of all its records for Brown Spiketail
Flight Charts
Distribution Present over most of the state, except absent close to the coast and in most of the lower Coastal Plain; a few recent photo records for the lower half of the Coastal Plain (Gates and Jones counties). Most widespread in the mountains, lacking records for just three counties there.
Abundance Fairly common in the mountains (at least in the northern counties), but uncommon in the northern Piedmont and rather rare in the southern Piedmont. Rare to uncommon in the Coastal Plain portion of the range. Much more common in the mountains than downstate. Many recent records across the state, and possibly is increasing in the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont portions of the range.
Flight Late April to mid-July in the mountains, but strongly advanced (as expected) in the Piedmont, where it flies from late March or early April and extends at least to mid-June (if not later). The Coastal Plain flight occurs from late March only to early June, though April is the primary month.
Habitat Small streams or seeps, often with little flow; typically in wooded areas.

See also Habitat Account for Wet-Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
Behavior Typically flies slowly over streams or seeps or in nearby clearings. Perches on low twigs, in an oblique manner typical of spiketails.
Comments This species can be confused with the somewhat similar, but slightly more widespread Twin-spotted Spiketail. Both can occur together along mountain and Piedmont wooded roadsides and clearings along woods and small creeks. Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand saw and photographed the species on several occasions in 2012 near the Roanoke River, adding first records for Halifax and Northampton counties. Surprising were photo records in 2017 by Hunter Phillips for Jones County and by Signa and Floyd Williams for Gates County. A photo record in 2019 added Wayne County, near the eastern edge of the range, to the species map.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-10 14:49:20

Photo Gallery for Brown Spiketail   35 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Buncombe, 2022-05-16, Pisgah State Park
Photo 2 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2022-05-12, Davis Branch
Photo 3 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Wilkes; M, 2022-05-02, Rendezvous Mountain State Park - Above Amadahy Falls
Photo 4 by: Max Ramey, Aaron Reb

Comment: Watauga, 2021-07-17, Cow Pasture Fen- Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo 5 by: Cesar Castillo

Comment: Swain, 2021-06-17, Cherokee. Near Oconaluftee River Trail. Lat: 35.500177 Lon: -83.303785 iNaturalist record #85398796
Photo 6 by: Will Stuart

Comment: Rutherford; M, 2021-05-06, One along CC Road, the second well above the gates. - About 2 miles apart.
Photo 7 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-05-02, Hot Springs area, River Rd
Photo 8 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-05-01, Davis Branch Meadows, Hot Springs area
Photo 9 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Yancey, 2019-05-23, Black Mountain Campground. - Males. At seep.
Photo 10 by: Pete Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-13, River Road, Murray Branch Meadows
Photo 11 by: Pete Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-13, River Road, Murray Branch Meadows
Photo 12 by: John Petranka, Mark Shields

Comment: Durham, 2019-04-18, Eno River State Park (ENRI) - Cole Mill Section. Along powerline corridor SW of Old Cole Mill Rd. - Female.
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Wayne, 2019-04-15, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park (CLNE) - First record for county.
Photo 14 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Guilford, 2019-04-11, Haw River State Park (HARI). Iron Ore Belt Access; seep and wetland along Great Blue Heron Trail. - Males.
Photo 15 by: Mark Shields, John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-26, Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest - in bog
Photo 16 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Orange, 2018-05-07, Brumley Forest Preserve, South side of Hwy. NC 10. - Males. Seep below spring house.
Photo 17 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2017-04-22, Patrolling seep at Brumley Forest Nature Preserve. - Males.
Photo 18 by: Hunter Phillips

Comment: Jones, 2017-04-09, Haywood Landing Recreation Site
Photo 19 by: S. Williams, F. Williams

Comment: Gates, 2017-04-09, MEMI
Photo 20 by: Timothy Deering

Comment: Buncombe, 2016-05-27, Dark Hollow Creek
Photo 21 by: Jim Petranka

Comment: Buncombe, 2015-05-29, Along shaded, first-order stream at Sandy Bottom
Photo 22 by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2015-05-15, Eno River State Park (ENRI). Along Pump Station Trail. - Male.
Photo 23 by: Vin Stanton, Gail Lankford, Janie Owen

Comment: Madison, 2014-05-21, River Road, French Broad River north of Hot Springs - Male
Photo 24 by: Cary and David Paynter

Comment: Watauga, 2012-06-19, high elevation bog
Photo 25 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-05-16, north Buncombe County, Leicester patch
Photo 26 by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Halifax, 2012-03-30, One male observed patrolling along a creek; one male and a mated pair photographed along a pipeline; all located near the Roanoke River
Photo 27 by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Halifax, 2012-03-30, One male observed patrolling along a creek; one male and a mated pair photographed along a pipeline; all located near the Roanoke River
Photo 28 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Haywood, 2011-06-11, Road to Max Patch and Harmon Den
Photo 29 by: Scott Hartley

Comment: Moore; C, 2007-04-08. Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve
Photo 30 by: Scott Hartley

Comment: Moore; C, 2007-04-08, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve