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

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 0

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Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) by John Petranka
Compare with: Belle's Sanddragon  
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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 Common Sanddragon
Flight Charts
Distribution Nearly statewide, but absent from the extreme northeastern and eastern counties, and oddly lacking records from the southwestern mountains (where ought to be present). No records east of Halifax, Martin, and Craven counties in the Coastal Plain; and known from just eight counties in the mountains.
Abundance Fairly common to occasionally common in the Piedmont and much of the Coastal Plain, but seemingly absent in the northeastern and eastern portions of the latter province. Rare in much of the mountains, and presumably scarce to absent over 3000-feet elevation. This species and the Black-shouldered Spinyleg are the most frequently seen clubtails across the state during the late spring and early summer months (whereas Ashy and Lancet clubtails are the most common clubtails in the spring season). There are several one-day counts of over 25 individuals (all from the Coastal Plain), including a remarkable 65 in Duplin County in May 2017.
Flight Generally from mid-May to mid-August. However, there are scattered records as early as 16 March and as late as 9 September. The flight starts slightly later in the mountains than downstate.
Habitat Creeks or small rivers with sandy shores, sand bars, and other sandy areas nearby. These are often in rather open habitats, but may be in wooded areas.
Behavior As the common name implies, this species is most often seen perching on damp sand or sandbars close to water. In hot weather, the males obelisk with the abdomen held angled up from the surface of the sand. They also perch on twigs near water and fly short distance over water.
Comments A dragonfly perching -- with the abdomen raised -- on sand next to a small stream will more than likely be a Common Sanddragon. Though seldom seen in large numbers in NC on a given day, it is quite widespread, with records from practically all Piedmont and Coastal Plain counties (except in the far east). The shape of the yellow markings on the dorsal side of the abdominal segments is quite unusual, like a hand bell, with the wide, open end of the bell at the anterior portion of each segment.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-10 12:58:07

Photo Gallery for Common Sanddragon   45 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Ken Kneidel

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2022-07-21,
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Nash, 2022-06-20, Tar River at Battle Park, Rocky Mount
Photo 3 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Hoke, 2021-06-24, Washed out sandy road crossing of Wolf Pit Creek
Photo 4 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Bladen, 2021-05-24, Jones Lake SP (circumnavigating lake by kayak) - on swim beach
Photo 5 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Moore; C, 2020-07-31
Photo 6 by: Doug Allen

Comment: Polk; P, 2020-06-11, FENCE (Foothills Equestrian Nature Center)
Photo 7 by: Salman Abdulali

Comment: Pitt, 2019-06-30, Fork Swamp Creek near Boyd Lee Park
Photo 8 by: John Petranka

Comment: Ashe, 2019-06-25, South Fork of New River at Todd Island Park; on rock at midstream. Ashe/Watauga county line. - Male.
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Sampson, 2019-05-24, Black River, from Ivanhoe Boating Access Area to 4.5 km upstream and back, by kayak.
Photo 10 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Davie, 2018-07-07, Bullhole River Park
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Rowan, 2018-07-07, Bullhole River Park
Photo 12 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Guilford, 2018-06-30, N. Buffalo Creek @ SR 2832
Photo 13 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-06-28, Albert Stevens
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pitt, 2018-05-25, Tar River at Falkland Boating Access Area - teneral, just emerged
Photo 15 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2017-07-08, Mallard Creek between Mallard Creek Church Rd and Harris Blvd.
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Alleghany, 2017-06-28, New River State Park (NERI), King's Creek Access
Photo 17 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2017-06-13, Hollow Rock Nature Park. Along New Hope Creek downstream from the Erwin Road bridge. - 3 males, 1 female. Photo is of female.
Photo 18 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2017-06-13, Hollow Rock Nature Park. Along New Hope Creek downstream from the Erwin Road bridge. - 3 males, 1 female.
Photo 19 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: McDowell; M, 2017-06-06, at North Fork Catawba River; 35.839236 -81.98814
Photo 20 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Caldwell, 2017-06-04, Wilson Creek, US Forest Service access off Brown Mountain Beach Road
Photo 21 by: John Petranka

Comment: Davie, 2017-06-02, South Yadkin River at Bullhole River Park, Cooleemee. - Males.
Photo 22 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Wayne, 2017-05-29, - Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, along dike of swimming lake
Photo 23 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Robeson, 2017-05-17, Lumber River; Lumber River State Park - Princess Ann Access to Fair Bluff Boating Access Area by kayak
Photo 24 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2017-05-11, South River at Sloan's Bridge
Photo 25 by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin

Comment: Madison, 2016-07-22, On rock in Ivy River along Forks-of-Ivy Road.
Photo 26 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Columbus, 2016-06-20, Waccamaw River from Pireway Boating Access to 6 km upstream
Photo 27 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-06-20, Waccamaw River from Pireway Boating Access to 6 km upstream
Photo 28 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2016-05-27, Black River
Photo 29 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Wilkes; M, 2015-06-16, WRC fishing put-in on Triplett Rd.
Photo 30 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-06-14, - Probably several dozen found along drainage from Lake McKinney and around fish hatchery.