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

North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

«      »

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in GOMPHIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 13
Added in 2024-00-00 from a previous year = 1

PDF has more details,
e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
[View PDF]
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spinosus) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Riverine Clubtail   Dragonhunter  
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]      iNaturalist
Click on county for list of all its records for Black-shouldered Spinyleg
Flight Charts
Distribution Nearly statewide, though seemingly absent from the easternmost counties (no records east of Gates, Bertie, Beaufort, and Jones counties). Three mountain counties also lack records, though it is certainly present in all counties in that province.
Abundance Fairly common to locally common over the Piedmont; fairly common in the southern Coastal Plain, and uncommon in the mountains. Much less numerous in the central and northern Coastal Plain, and seemingly absent in the far eastern counties. This is one of the more numerous of the clubtails in the state, particularly in the Piedmont.
Flight Fairly wide spread of flight dates for a clubtail -- early May to early October in the Piedmont. Probably the same flight period in the Coastal Plain, though dates only span from mid-May to mid-September. The mountain flight occurs from mid-May to early October.
Habitat Widespread choice of breeding habitats, from rivers and streams, to less often lakes and ponds. More tolerant of disturbed habitats than most clubtails, but tends to favor shaded or partly shaded bodies of water as opposed to open and sunny wetlands.
Behavior One of the more conspicuous or easily seen clubtails in NC (along with Lancet and Ashy clubtails). Adults frequently perch flat on the ground on sunny trails, dirt roads, rocks by water, or vegetation, where they can be easily studied. One does not have to head for a pond, large creek, or river to see this species -- though your chances are better along a creek or small river than in uplands or far from such waters.
Comments This is a large and striking dragonfly. Immatures and adult females have conspicuous yellow sides to the thorax, whereas the adult males are more lime green on the sides of the thorax. The very thick black "shoulders" at the front of the thorax are clinching marks. Also, as the common name indicates, the spinylegs indeed have spiny projections on the very long pair of hind legs.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-09 15:40:55

Photo Gallery for Black-shouldered Spinyleg   57 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Steve Hall

Comment: Chatham, 2024-05-21,
Photo 2 by: Steve Hall

Comment: Chatham, 2024-05-12,
Photo 3 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2023-12-18, Hot Springs area, French Broad
Photo 4 by: Robert Gilson and Chris Talkington

Comment: Rutherford; M, 2023-06-12, South Mountain Gameland - Old CC Road
Photo 5 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2022-07-23, FS 81 at Santeetlah Creek bridge - Just caught a moth
Photo 6 by: Paul Hart

Comment: Harnett; C, 2022-06-10, Cape Fear Shiner County Park
Photo 7 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-06-27, Hot Springs area
Photo 8 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-20
Photo 9 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-06-12, - Killed an Ebony Jewelwing after I took the picture
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2019-06-28, Black River, from Hunts Bluff Boating Access Area to 5km upstream and back, by kayak
Photo 11 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2019-06-13, Eno River State Park down stream of Cole Mill Rd
Photo 12 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Montgomery, 2018-08-25, Uwharrie River @ Low Water Bridge
Photo 13 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-08-06, Yadkin River at NC 67
Photo 14 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2018-07-21, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir; from dam to ~1000' downstream
Photo 15 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-07-20, Pilot Mountain State Park - Yadkin River section
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Robeson, 2018-07-15, Lumber River, from Fair Bluff Boating Access Area to South Carolina line, by kayak
Photo 17 by: John Petranka and party.

Comment: Davidson, 2018-07-14, Lexington. Pond at Finch Park and along Abbotts Creek where noted. - Males at Abbotts Creek.
Photo 18 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Surry, 2018-07-11, Yadkin River @ Crater Park; Elkin
Photo 19 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Pender, 2018-07-09, Holly Shelter boat launch off Shaw Highway - unusually dark male
Photo 20 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Davie, 2018-07-07, Bullhole River Park
Photo 21 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Rowan, 2018-07-07, Bullhole River Park
Photo 22 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Scotland, 2018-07-06, Lumber River State Park (LURI) - Chalk Banks Access
Photo 23 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Anson, 2018-07-06, Pee Dee River; 2 km stretch upstream from Diggs Tract Access, by kayak
Photo 24 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Richmond; C, 2018-07-06, Pee Dee River; 2 km stretch upstream from Diggs Tract Access, by kayak
Photo 25 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-02, Tanglewood Park
Photo 26 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Lake Glenville at Powerhouse Access Area - First record for county.
Photo 27 by: Vin Stanton, Janie Owens, Gail Lankford

Comment: Madison, 2017-09-19, River Road, north of Hot Springs; 35.92085°, -82.87313° .- Female
Photo 28 by: Vin Stanton, Janie Owens, Gail Lankford

Comment: Madison, 2017-09-19, River Road, north of Hot Springs; 35.92085° -82.87313° - Female
Photo 29 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2017-07-30, Cape Fear River at Lock and Dam #1
Photo 30 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Harnett; P, 2017-07-29, Raven Rock State Park- Campbell Creek