Dromogomphus spinosus

Black-Shouldered Spinylegs

Dromogomphus spinosus, Black-Shouldered Spinylegs male

Family: Gomphidae

Length: typically 60-65 mm

This is handsome dragonfly is in the Clubtail family, as might be surmised by the widened tip of the abdomen. Like other clubtails, the Black-Shouldered Spinylegs has eyes that do not touch each other. This particular species is notable for its long back legs, which have, as the species name says, long spines on them.

Black-Shouldered Spinylegs, Dromogomphus spinosusLook for the large and spiny back legs, green eyes and face, pale green thorax on mature individuals, and broad black shoulder stripes. This species does not sport bright green coloration, and typically has only rudimentary dark stripes on the sides of the thoraxor no stripes at all.

Juveniles of this species have a yellow thorax, which gives way to pale green as they mature. Females are like the males but the tip of the abdomen is barely clubbed.

Streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes all may be home to the Black-Shouldered Spinylegs, as may the forest edges near these bodies of water. These dragonflies may perch on the leaves of larger plants, or else on the ground. They often prefer shady perches.

Black-Shouldered Spinylegs, Dromogomphus spinosus face
Above: Pale green face, forehead, and thorax are characteristic of the Black-Shouldered Spinylegs. Note the very broad black shoulder stripes. The markings on the dorsal surface of the thorax should also be used in verifying species.


Black-Shouldered Spinylegs, Dromogomphus spinosus abdomen
These marks are typical of those at the tip of the abdomen of the Black-Shouldered Spinylegs. As always, however, it is important to remember that markings vary somewhat from individual to individual, and other Black-Shouldered Spinylegs may not match precisely this photograph.


Dromogomphus spinosus, Black-Shouldered Spinylegs female
Female and immature male Black-Shouldered Spinylegs have their markings yellow instead of pale green.

Insects of West Virginia