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 = 14

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Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Russet-tipped Clubtail   Southeastern Spinyleg  
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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Click on county for list of all its records for Two-striped Forceptail
Flight Charts
Distribution Formerly (prior to 2005), mainly just the lower half of the Coastal Plain. However, in the past handful of years the range is expanding westward rapidly, west currently to Guilford and Lincoln counties. Thus, now it is scattered over nearly all of the Coastal Plain and the southeastern Piedmont. In fact, in 2020, a remarkable five new counties were added to the range map, several in the Coastal Plain filling holes in the range there (Bladen and Currituck), but several in the Piedmont expanding the western edge of the range (Durham, Chatham, Guilford, and Gaston). Beaton (2007) states that in GA it is "rare above [the Fall Line] but expanding into the middle Piedmont". It is certainly expanding its range inland (westward) in NC, as well; Cuyler never collected the species farther west than Pitt and Pender counties.
Abundance Clearly increasing in recent years. Formerly scarce (rare to uncommon) and limited almost solely to the Tidewater counties. Now it occurs essentially throughout the Coastal Plain and southeastern Piedmont, where uncommon and a bit local, but formerly it was nearly absent in these areas. In fact, the species has been recorded now at many lakes and ponds in Wake County alone, and two of the three highest one-day counts have been in Piedmont counties.
Flight The flight periods in both the Coastal Plain and Piedmont are very similar -- mid-June to mid-September. A new early date in 2022 was 6 June, in the eastern Piedmont.
Habitat Vicinity of ponds and lakes, as well as canals, especially muck- or peat-bottom ones. These waters can be somewhat disturbed and not "high-quality", and many or most are in full sun.
Behavior May perch on the ground near a pond, or on vegetation around a pond. Most often seen at ponds and small lakes.
Comments Because Cuyler never collected the species in NC farther inland than Hertford, Bertie, and Pitt counties, it is certain that these farther western records represent a recent inland expansion of the range. The range is still spotty, in that there are many Wake County records but very few from the Sandhills or the adjacent counties to the east (e.g., Robeson, Sampson, etc.). There is also a near lack of recent records for the northeastern counties (east of Gates, Bertie, and Craven), though a 2020 record came from coastal Currituck County. A number of records have been made from canoes and kayaks, on large ponds and lakes, less so along rivers.
State Rank S3S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-09 15:16:01

Photo Gallery for Two-striped Forceptail   52 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Amy Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2024-07-15, Lock & Dam #2, Elizabethtown, NC - Along the shore
Photo 2 by: Al Hooks

Comment: Johnston; C, 2024-07-03, Spring Meadow Farm, a few miles north of Smithfield
Photo 3 by: Al Hooks

Comment: Montgomery, 2024-06-24, Uwharrie National Forest
Photo 4 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2023-09-08, Jordan Lake--New Hope Creek
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2023-07-19, retention pond, Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville
Photo 6 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2023-07-16, Jordan Lake--Overcup Creek/Bush Creek coves
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Bladen, 2023-07-07, White Lake; we circumnavigated the lake in kayaks
Photo 8 by: Charles Williams, Laura Williams

Comment: Guilford, 2022-08-10, Neighborhood retention pond 10:21 AM at 36.172589, -79.793835 - Retention pond near woods, lake, and wetland reserve 10:21 AM at 36.172589, -79.793835
Photo 9 by: Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Cabarrus, 2022-08-07, Male - Rob Wallace Park. Appears to be First record submitted for Cabarrus County.
Photo 10 by: Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2022-07-20, Mountain Island Lake, Latta Nature Preserve, Huntersillve
Photo 11 by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2022-07-07, Mountain Island Lake, Neck Road kayak launch
Photo 12 by: David Woods

Comment: Richmond; C, 2021-09-19, McKinney Lake. Boat launch parking area. - Female
Photo 13 by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2021-08-03, - Seen Near the old Mill at Yates Mill Park
Photo 14 by: Dennis Hawkins

Comment: Gaston, 2020-09-09, McAdenville, near junction of Main St. and Hickory Grove Dr.. iNaturalist record #59209420 - Female.
Photo 15 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Chatham, 2020-08-31, Cape Fear River landing at end of Buckhorn Road - 3 females and 1 male along paths and on bank
Photo 16 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Chatham, 2020-08-13, Buckhorn Road power line cut near Buckhorn Creek
Photo 17 by: Alex Worm

Comment: Bladen, 2020-07-27, Jones Lake SP at the swimming beach. Originally posted on iNaturalist - Male.
Photo 18 by: Una Davenhill

Comment: Currituck, 2020-07-26, Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
Photo 19 by: C. Taunton

Comment: Wake, 2020-07-12, NC Museum of Art grounds
Photo 20 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2020-07-05, Jordan Lake--Overcup Creek marsh
Photo 21 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2020-07-05, Jordan Lake--interface between Bush Creek marsh and the lake
Photo 22 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Durham, 2019-08-15, Discovery Lake (EPA/NIH campus in RTP). Continuing male on same patch of territory.
Photo 23 by: F. Williams, S. Williams

Comment: Bertie, 2019-08-04, Salmon Creek State Natural Area
Photo 24 by: Mike Kosiewski

Comment: Currituck, 2019-08-03, MacKay Island NWR. iNaturalist: - Male.
Photo 25 by: Parker Backstrom

Comment: Moore; C, 2019-06-15, Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve
Photo 26 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Pender, 2018-08-25, Along Northeast Cape Fear River at Holly Shelter Boating Access. - Female.
Photo 27 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-07-04, Chris Talkington
Photo 28 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-07-04, Chris Talkington
Photo 29 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Edgecombe, 2017-08-04, Tarboro, Etheridge Pond; 35.8699, -77.5279 - adult male
Photo 30 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Lenoir, 2017-08-01, Neuseway Nature Park, Kinston