Club-tailed Dragonfly

Gomphus vulgatissimus


The Club-tailed Dragonfly is a medium sized species, on the wing from early May to late June.  This species is elusive as an adult, mostly seen on emergence from its riverine habitat.  Meandering rivers with silty substrates over a rocky bed are favoured by the burrowing larvae.  Adults have a tightly synchronised emergence with dense concentrations being found at favoured sites.  Once emerged, adults quickly move away from the river, to woodland up to 10km away, where they spend most of their time in the canopy of trees. 

How to identify

The Club-tailed Dragonfly is unlikely to be confused with any other UK species, with early emergence, separated eyes and distinctly shaped abdomen. Extensive black and yellow markings are visible on both males and females, though the yellow areas on the males develop to green as they mature, apart from two bright yellow spots on abdominal segments 7 and 9.

Where to find it

England and Wales - restricted to mature stretches of seven British river systems; Thames, Arun, Wye, Dee, Tywi, Teifi and Severn.


When to find it

  • May
  • June

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many riverine and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of invertebrate, including the Club-tailed Dragonfly. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Club-tailed Dragonfly
Latin name
Gomphus vulgatissimus
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 50mm Wing span: 64mm
Conservation status
Nationally notable species with local BAP's in Worcestershire, Shropshire and Cheshire.