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

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Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 1

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Rapids Clubtail (Phanogomphus quadricolor) by John Petranka
Compare with: Harpoon Clubtail   Beaverpond Clubtail  
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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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distribution Primarily north and west of NC, ranging south to northern VA, eastern TN, and northern GA and AL. In NC, widely scattered in the mountains and Piedmont, known from just seven counties. A photo record from Rockingham County in 2019 slightly closed the large gap in records between the mountains and the lower Piedmont, but still hardly any records for the central and western Piedmont as yet.
abundance Presumed very rare in the mountains, and also very rare (and local) in the eastern Piedmont. Status in the central and western Piedmont is obviously uncertain, though it may well occur in a few places in this large region in addition to Rockingham County.
flight A relatively short spring season flight. The flight dates from the eastern NC Piedmont are from 27 April to 19 May, and the three NC mountain records are from 6 May to 3 June. The single GA record (in the mountains) is for 16 May. Thus, the flight in NC occurs from at least late April to early June. Dunkle (2000) says "early May to mid-July" throughout the range; and Paulson (2011) lists "May-Jun" for KY.
habitat Mainly at larger rivers with rocks and rapids.
behavior Males perch on rocks or vegetation near the rivers, but also on vegetation away from rivers.
comments This is another rare clubtail in the state. Its distribution is oddly disjunct, as the main part of the range is north and west of the state, south to VA and TN; only one record is known from GA. This is one of many clubtails that can be difficult to identify; multiple photos or specimens are almost certainly necessary for proper documentation. Thankfully, Richard Stickney found a new location of the species, in the Haw River near Swepsonville (Alamance County), in May 2017, and documented this finding with several photographs. John Petranka added several additional photos from that site four days later; and Tim Deering and Jerrell Daigle documented the species from the Deep River in Chatham County in 2018. Both the Deep and Haw rivers are in the same (Cape Fear) drainage. However, Mike Turner photographed one in Rockingham County in 2019 near the Dan River, in the Dan/Roanoke drainage.


state_status SR
S_rank S1S2
fed_status
G_rank G3G4
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym Gomphus quadricolor
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-05 10:37:41

Photo Gallery for Rapids Clubtail   14 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-05-15, Hot Springs area
Photo 2 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-05-15, Hot Springs area
Photo 3 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Chatham, 2020-04-26, White Pines Preserve
Photo 4 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Rockingham, 2019-04-27, Dan River Game Land-powerline ROW
Photo 5 by: Tim Deering/Jerrell Daigle

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, In field near Deep River - Single female
Photo 6 by: Tim Deering/Jerrell Daigle

Comment: Chatham, 2018-05-12, In field near Deep River - Single female
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Mitchell, 2017-06-03, Nolichucky River at Poplar Access Area - males
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Mitchell, 2017-06-03, Nolichucky River at Poplar Access Area - males
Photo 9 by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-19, Haw River at Swepsonville. Perching on smaller rocks at the bridge. - Males.
Photo 10 by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-19, Haw River at Swepsonville. Perching on smaller rocks at the bridge. - Males.
Photo 11 by: John Petranka

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-19, Haw River at Swepsonville. Perching on smaller rocks at the bridge. - Males.
Photo 12 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Alamance, 2017-05-15, Male on rock in Haw River at Swepsonville River Park
Photo 13 by: Vin Stanton, Lucie Bruce, Nick Cooney

Comment: Buncombe, 2013-05-30, observed along French Broad River, Alexander Park, north Buncombe County - Male
Photo 14 by: Ali Iyoob, Matt Daw, Dan Irizarry

Comment: Madison, 2011-05-06, French Broad River