Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Gomphurus vastus  (Walsh, 1862)
Cobra Clubtail

Gomphidae, Clubtail Family


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S4    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This yellow-green dragonfly has black stripes on the thorax. The length of the body varies from 1.8 to 2.2 inches. The abdomen is black with small yellow dorsal stripes and yellow spots on a wide club at end. The face has a black stripe, unique among clubtails. The legs are black. Near the body, 1/4 of wings are tinted yellow. Clubtail species are very similar to each other in some aspects, careful inspection is needed to identify them.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout eastern United States and southeastern Canada, cobra clubtails can be found at large rivers with average to fast currents, and lake shores where there are alternating stretches of sand and gravel, and sometimes large streams. Brushes or thickets seem to be appreciated along the habitats listed previously. It is widely distributed but not necessarily abundant in Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Late May to early August in Wisconsin.

Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male cobra clubtail
Male cobra clubtail. © Dan Jackson

Male cobra clubtail
Photo of Male cobra clubtail
Male cobra clubtail. © Mike Reese

Male cobra clubtail
Photo of Immature male cobra clubtail
Immature male cobra clubtail. © Dan Jackson

Immature male cobra clubtail
Photo of Female cobra clubtail
Female cobra clubtail. © Dan Jackson

Female cobra clubtail
Photo of Immature female cobra clubtail
Immature female cobra clubtail. © Dan Jackson

Immature female cobra clubtail

This site is produced in conjunction with the Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Inventory and sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The information presented on this site is subject to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Legal Notices, Disclaimers, and Terms of Use.