Green-faced Clubtail

Hylogomphus viridifrons (Hine, 1901)

Kurt Mead

Insecta (Insects)
Gomphidae (Clubtails)
State Protection
Not Listed
Not listed or protected by New York State.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Vulnerable globally, or Apparently Secure - At moderate risk of extinction, with relatively few populations or locations in the world, few individuals, and/or restricted range; or uncommon but not rare globally; may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. More information is needed to assign either G3 or G4.


Did you know?

Female Green-faced Clubtails lay their eggs in fast-moving water while tapping their abdomens onto the water's surface (Mead 2003).

State Ranking Justification

The Green-faced Clubtail is known to occur in two locations in New York State, one of which is based on a recent observation from 1994. Population estimates have not been determined. Further survey efforts may result in the identification of additional populations or range expansions, and may enable population size estimations.

Short-term Trends

No estimate of population size for the Green-faced Clubtail has been made based on the Orange County, New York observation from the mid-1990s (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Information prior to this time frame is limited. Therefore, any new location information on the Green-faced Clubtail in New York may reflect heightened interest in surveying for this species rather than a population increase or a range expansion (Holst 2005).

Long-term Trends

One recent observation of Green-faced Clubtails has been made in 1994 in Orange County and one observation was made in 1940 in Sullivan County, New York (Donnelly 2004, New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Since there is limited historical information, one recent record, and the full extent and size of the populations have not been determined, long-term trends are unclear.

Conservation and Management


Any activity which might lead to water contamination or the alteration of natural hydrology could affect Green-faced Clubtail populations. Such threats might include agricultural run-off, increases in sedimentation, and changes in dissolved oxygen content of streams and rivers (Holst 2005).

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Any measures to reduce water contamination or hydrological alteration such as chemical contamination from agricultural run-off and increases in sediment load in streams and rivers should be considered when managing for this species (Holst 2005).

Research Needs

Further research is required to understand the habitat requirements of and threats to this species, and to create appropriate management guidelines for its persistence in known locations (Holst 2005).



Green-faced Clubtails inhabit medium-sized streams and small rivers with substrate consisting of gravel and silt (Dunkle 2000, Mead 2003). Larvae are aquatic, whereas adults are terrestrial and are found in habitats surrounding streams and rivers.

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Confined river* (guide)
    The aquatic community of relatively large, fast flowing sections of streams with a moderate to gentle gradient.

* probable association but not confirmed.

Associated Species

  • Spine-crowned Clubtail (Hylogomphus abbreviatus) (guide)
  • Rapids Clubtail (Phanogomphus quadricolor) (guide)


New York State Distribution

The Green-faced Clubtail is known from two counties in the southeastern portion of New York State (Donnelly 2004, New York Natural Heritage Program 2007).

Global Distribution

The Green-faced Clubtail is distributed in Ontario, Canada and across the northeastern United States from western New York west to Minnesota and south to northern Alabama (Dunkle 2000). It has a total known range from Ontario, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvainia, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Best Places to See

  • Delaware River (Orange County)

Identification Comments

Identifying Characteristics

As their name suggests, Clubtails have an enlarged tip on the end of their abdomens, giving them a club-like appearance. Adult Green-faced Clubtails are robust, 1.8 inches long, and have dark green eyes. Their face and thoracic sides are a clear, grayish-green color. Females may have paler, greenish-yellow markings. Both sexes have a black abdomen with segment 9 appearing shorter than segment 8. Males have pale lateral (side) spots on abdominal segments 5-7, while females have yellow on the sides of their clubs. Male terminal appendages and female subgenital plates are distinctive from other Clubtails when examined under magnification.


Female Green-faced Clubtails oviposit (lay eggs) by tapping the tips of their abdomens onto the surface of swift-flowing water while simultaneously releasing eggs (Mead 2003, Nikula et al. 2003). Males hover over the water with a raised abdomen and extended hindlegs and sometimes perch on nearby rocks or on shoreline leaves of weeds or trees (Dunkle 2000).


Green-faced Clubtail larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.

Best Time to See

Adult Green-faced Clubtails have been found in New York from May through July (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). They are known to be most active in the late afternoon under cloud cover (Mead 2003).

  • Present
  • Reproducing

The time of year you would expect to find Green-faced Clubtail present and reproducing in New York.

Similar Species

  • Spine-crowned Clubtail (Hylogomphus abbreviatus) (guide)
    Female Spine-crowned Clubtails have a dorsal (top) yellow spot on abdominal segment 10, while this segment is all-black on the Green-faced Clubtail females.
  • Mustached Clubtail (Hylogomphus adelphus)
    The Mustached Clubtail has black facial markings not present on the Green-faced Clubtail. Male Mustached Clubtails lack the pale lateral spots on abdominal segments 5-7 that are present on our subject (Dunkle 2000).
  • Rapids Clubtail (Phanogomphus quadricolor) (guide)
    The Rapids Clubtail has a middle thoracic stripe, where the Green-faced Clubtail lacks this feature. Abdominal segment 9 is not shorter than segment 8 on the Rapids Clubtail, as it is with Green-faced Clubtails (Mead 2003).

Green-faced Clubtail Images


Green-faced Clubtail
Hylogomphus viridifrons (Hine, 1901)

  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Arthropoda (Mandibulates)
      • Class Insecta (Insects)
        • Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
          • Family Gomphidae (Clubtails)


  • Gomphus viridifrons Hine, 1901

Additional Resources


Abbott, J.C. 2007. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the odonata of North America. Austin, Texas. Available at (accessed February 28, 2007).

Donnelly, T. W. 1992. The odonata of New York State. Bulletin of American Odonatology. 1(1):1-27.

Donnelly, T.W. 1999. The dragonflies and damselflies of New York. Prepared for the 1999 International Congress of Odonatology and First Symposium of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association. July 11-16, 1999. Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. 39 pp.

Donnelly, T.W. 2004. The Odonata of New York State. Unpublished data. Binghamton, NY.

Dunkle, S.W. 2000. Dragonflies Through Binoculars. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America. Oxford University Press: New York, New York. 266 pp.

Mead, K. 2003. Dragonflies of the North Woods. Kollath-Stensaas Publishing, Duluth, MN. 2003 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2007. Biotics Database. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. No date. New York dragonfly and damselfly survey database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 2005. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy Planning Database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

Nikula, B., J.L. Loose, and M.R. Burne. 2003. A field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Massachusetts. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Westborough, MA. 197 pp.

Ware, J.L., E. Pilgrim, M.L. May, T.W. Donnelly, and K. Tennessen. 2016. Phylogenetic relationships of North American Gomphidae and their close relatives. Systematic Entomology 2016:1-10.


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: December 5, 2007

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Hylogomphus viridifrons. Available from: Accessed July 19, 2024.