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Ashy Clubtail

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Phanogomphus lividus

Selys, 1854

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Gomphioidea
Family Gomphidae
Genus Phanogomphus
Species lividus (Selys, 1854) [Gomphus]
Syn Gomphus sordidus Hagen, 1854
Syn Gomphus umbratus Needham, 1897


This is early spring species found in the eastern part of the region. It is darker than many of our other clubtails, with little color on the abdomen. The face is pale green without dark stripes and the vertex is brown. The thorax is grayish-green with a parallel-sided middorsal thoracic stripe. The antehumeral and humeral stripes are fused, with the former sometimes free at its upper end. Occasionally, a thin, interrupted yellowish line is visible between them. The mid- and third lateral stripes are confluent and faint brown lateral stripe often present at the rear edge of thorax. The legs are brownish throughout with a yellow line externally on the tibiae. The abdomen is largely black with a thin pale yellow middorsal line nearly continuous on the middle segments. Segments 8 and 9 are only slightly enlarged in the male and have relatively little yellow dorsally. Segment 10 is brownish-yellow and the male caudal appendages are black.


Total length: 46-57 mm; abdomen: 35-41 mm; hindwing: 28-35 mm.

Similar Species

This species is distinctive because of its slender form, pale color and the lack of contrasting markings.


Sand or mud-bottomed streams and rivers with moderate current; sheltered inlets and bays of lakes.


This is often the most common clubtail in the early spring in the Big Thicket area of southeast Texas. Males tend to perch on the ground or just above on vegetation. When disturbed individuals will fly in a series of distinctive semicircles.


Eastern U.S. from Ontario to Florida and Texas.