Gomphus adelphus

Mustached Clubtail

Gomphus adelphus, Mustached Clubtail male

Family: Gomphidae

Length: typically 40-45

Your typical encounter with a Mustached Clubtail will come when you are walking along a river bank scanning chest-high vegetation. There basking on leaves will be a Mustached Clubtail.

Like other clubtails, the Mustached Clubtail has eyes that do not meet, and like most clubtails it has a flared abdomen. Looking at the two black diagonal stripes on sides of the thorax, the first is incomplete, reaching only about halfway to the point where the wings attach. The second (rear) stripe is narrow. One key characteristic is that this species (unlike other clubtails) has more than one black stripe on the face.

Males and females are similar, but on females the rear of the abdomen will have yellow edges.

The usual time to find this species is June to July. They are active later in the day than many dragonflies, flying actively until evening.

Swift, sparkling rivers are the favored habitat of the Mustached Clubtail, although they may also be seen at lakes. Primarily a creature of the northeastern U.S. and of Canada, in West Virginia the species is at the southern end of its range, and is found in cool mountain habitats. The one shown here was photographed along Shavers Fork in Randolph County.

Mustached Clubtail, Gomphus adelphus face
 This photo shows the several black facial stripes of the Mustached Clubtail. On the sides of the thorax you can see the two black stripes, the front one incomplete and the rear one mostly straight and thin.
Mustached Clubtail, Gomphus adelphus, abdomen
The rear segments of the abdomen have very small to no markings, and it is easy to see the flared abdomen that gives the family its common name.

Insects of West Virginia