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 for 2023 = 0
Added in 2023 from a previous year = 1

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Harpoon Clubtail (Phanogomphus descriptus) by Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston
Compare with: Rapids Clubtail   Beaverpond 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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Map
Click on county for list of all its records for Harpoon Clubtail
Flight Charts
Distribution Mountains only, where recorded only from three counties (Avery, Madison, and Haywood). NC is at the southern end of the range, as the species does not range into the GA mountains. The species ranges north into southeastern Canada. Unfortunately, all recent records have come from a rather short stretch of the French Broad River in Madison County.
Abundance Very rare, as records only for three mountain counties and only nine records with dates at the present time. This is certainly one of the rarest of dragonflies in the state, though at least it can be intentionally searched for in the Hot Springs area, as there are records for several recent years.
Flight Late April into mid-June. The dates available for NC fall from 20 April to 16 June.
Habitat Breeds at rocky streams and rivers. All NC records are from the vicinity of small to moderate-sized rivers (i.e., French Broad, Linville, and East Fork Pigeon).
Behavior Males perch on rocks in rivers and streams, on the ground near the water, or on vegetation close to the water.
Comments This is another poorly known dragonfly in NC. Until recently, the last known record for NC was from 1965, and it had been considered of historical occurrence. However, a male photographed by Vin Stanton in 2013 from the French Broad River in Madison County reconfirms this species in the state. One was well observed close to the same area in May 2016, and again in April 2020 and 2021 (with photos by Pete Dixon). Continued field work for clubtails in the mountains is greatly needed, especially by persons seeking out rare species by netting them along creeks and rivers, and could lead to additional records for this species.

State Rank S1
State Status SR
Global Rank G4G5
Federal Status
Synonym Gomphus descriptus
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-10 12:31:36

Photo Gallery for Harpoon Clubtail   6 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-04-20, Hot Springs area
Photo 2 by: Pete Dixon, Chris Talkington, Robert Gilson

Comment: Madison, 2020-04-22, Hot Springs area
Photo 3 by: Pete Dixon, Chris Talkington, Robert Gilson

Comment: Madison, 2020-04-22, Hot Springs area
Photo 4 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Madison, 2013-04-30, Found on River Road, French Broad River - Male, ID verified by Bugguide
Photo 5 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Madison, 2013-04-30, Found on River Road, French Broad River - Male, ID verified by Bugguide
Photo 6 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Madison, 2013-04-30, Found on River Road, French Broad River - Male, ID verified by Bugguide