The males of most of the "hanging" clubtails (genus Stylurus) have long, slender abdomens. When perched on leaves, the bodies are pulled down by their weight, creating the appearance of "hanging" clubtails. Varying from 2.2 to 2.6 inches in length, this gray-green dragonfly is striped with yellow and brown-black. Both lateral thoracic stripes are present in a complete form. The males are recognizable by a rusty orange club. The abdomen has no pattern. The female's abdomen is very elongate and nearly clubless. The face is brownish with green eyes. The legs are black with thighs pale green to brown. The females are similar to the males but less brightly colored.
Ranging through eastern and southwestern United States, the russet-tipped clubtail often prefers silty sand-bottomed rivers, streams, and lakes. In Wisconsin, it is fairly common during its flight season on the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers as well as the lower sections of their tributaries. On the Mississippi River, it is typically found around wing dams on the main channel as well over turbulent sections of large sloughs.
Early in the flight season, immature adults can be found in open areas adjacent to the river. They often perch on low bushes and plants and will fly to the tree tops when disturbed. Later in the flight season, mature males and females can be found in similar habitat adjacent to patrol areas. The best time to look for them is early and late in the day or on chilly days when the males aren't flying over the river.
Normal flight season is late June to early September with some years stretching to early October if weather permits.