All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Club Tailed Dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus)

A Species Narrative by Ken Crick

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Welcome to my new style narrative, the content of which has been kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick. The narrative is intended to give an insight into the life cycle and characteristics of the featured species.

Size: - Approximate Length 50m - Wing Span 64mm
Male: - This is a robust medium sized dragonfly (Anisoptera), where immature males (see above) are yellow and black. When mature the yellow areas turn to the palest of greens tending to yellow except on the flanks of abdominal segment 8 & 9 which remain bright yellow.

Unique among British Anisoptera both sexes of this species eyes fail to meet across the upper surface of the head. The wings are clear, with the inner trailing edge of the hind wing, exhibiting a semicircular cut out and angular transition to the true trailing edge.
Female: - Black and yellow with a heavy looking abdomen. The hind wing has a smooth curved transition without a cut out.

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Status: - Rare in the UK but can be locally abundant. Limited to only a few sites.

Habitat: - Rivers with slow to moderate flow rates with mud or silt substrate.

Flight period: - Second week in May to last week in June.

General: - Adults emerge synchronously, early to mid May and rapidly disperse, some up to 10 km. They can be found feeding in woodland clearings.

Riverside banks with good tree cover are preferred, males selecting a perch from which to launch forays in search of food and / or females. There seems to be a total lack of aggression towards any other species of dragonfly present at the river. Copulation appears to take place away from the immediate egg-laying site.

Females appear suddenly flying low over a suitable sluggish parts of the river, they are alone. As they over fly the water they drop eggs, occasionally just touching the surface presumably to wash away any of the remaining eggs. 

This narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

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