Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dragonfly: Cocoa Clubtail (Gomphus hybridus)

April 28th, 2012. We stopped by Whitetail Lake in the Clybel Wildlife Management Area – Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center to see which dragonflies were out. There were the usual suspects: Common Whitetails (Libellula lydia), Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta) and Eastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera). Then there were a couple of dragonflies that blended into the background of the grass along the edge of the pond. It was difficult to keep track of them but…

They had a couple of favorite places along the pond shore to which they returned repeatedly. Can you see this one? A little to the left of center. It’s pretty clear why it was difficult to keep track of them.

A closer view, in the same location. It looked, at first glimpse, like an Ashy Clubtail (Gomphus lividus). Then I got a couple of good shots when one flew to…

vegetation further along the shore, and then to…

a log where I could get better shots. I finally identified this as a Cocoa Clubtail (Gomphus hybridus).

The markings on the thorax and abdomen of the Ashy and Cocoa clubtails are very similar. The colors of the Cocoa Clubtail are brighter than the Ashy Clubtail. These clubtails also differ in that the abdomen of the Ashy Clubtail taper to the terminal tip whereas the terminal end of the abdomen of the Cocoa Clubtail is swollen. Cocoa Clubtails are not common but found in counties in middle and north Georgia from late March to mid June. The relative rarity of this clubtail may be due, in part, to it not being noticed because it blends into its background so well.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of Georgia

- Cocoa Clubtail (Gomphus hybridus)

- Ashy Clubtail (Gomphus lividus)


- Cocoa Clubtail (Gomphus hybridus): [Side] [Top]

- Ashy Clubtail (Gomphus lividus) [Side] [Top]


Nellie said...

Very interesting. I am going to try to do some identifying this summer instead of just saying "that's a dragonfly." Also, no, I could not see it in the first photo.

JSK said...

Yes, this was a very difficult dragonfly to keep track of. I almost gave up. Just got lucky in the end.
It's fun to try and identify them. Some are easy. Others, like this one, almost tricked me.
Good luck in your efforts. It's worthwhile to be able to put a name with them.