There are over 1,000 species of Clubtail dragonflies known worldwide (Nikula et al. 2003). This mostly black species of Clubtail is aptly named, as its common name, Sable Clubtail, means black with a clubbed tail.
The Sable Clubtail is known from two locations in Orange County, New York, with population estimates undetermined. Further survey efforts may result in the identification of additional populations or range expansions, and may enable population size estimations.
No estimate of population size for the Sable Clubtail has been made between the late 1980s to 2000 (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Information prior to this time frame is even more limited. Therefore, any new location information on the Sable Clubtail in New York may reflect heightened interest in surveying for this species rather than a population increase or a range expansion (Holst 2005).
Recent observations of Sable Clubtails were made between the late 1980s to 2000 in Orange county, (Donnelly 2004, New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Since these are fairly recent records, and the full extent and size of the populations have not been determined, long-term trends are unclear.
Any activity that might lead to water contamination or the alteration of natural hydrology could impact Sable Clubtails and other stream dwelling odonates (Holst 2005). Such threats might include chemical contamination from agricultural run-off, changes in dissolved oxygen content, increases in sediment load, development near their habitats, and the building of dams (Holst 2005).
Any measures to reduce water contamination or hydrological alteration such as agricultural run-off, upland development, and damming that would affect flow of small forested streams should be considered when managing for this species (Holst 2005).
Further research is needed to define the distribution and population size of the Sable Clubtail. In addition, research is required to understand the habitat requirements and threats to this species, and to create appropriate management guidelines for its persistence in known locations (Holst 2005).
Sable Clubtails inhabit clear, moderately flowing forest streams with sand, silt, or rocky substrate (Dunkle 2000, Holst 2005). Larvae are aquatic and found in the water during this lifestage, whereas adults are terrestrial and are found in habitats surrounding forested streams.
Sable Clubtails have been confirmed from two locations in Orange county of New York State (Donnelly 2004, New York Natural Heritage Program 2007).
The Sable Clubtail is distributed across the Appalachians of the eastern United States from southern New York southwest down into Georgia (Dunkle 2000). It has a total known range from Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia (Abbott 2007).
As their name suggests, Clubtails have an enlarged tip on the end of their abdomens, giving them a club-like appearance. The Sable Clubtail belongs to the subgenus Stenogomphurus. Sables are an Appalachian species, 2.0 inches in length, with an undeveloped club and black legs. They are slender and olive green to mostly black, have green eyes, and a black, interruped stripe on the side of their thorax. Males have a pale grayish-green thorax, whereas this portion of the body is greenish-yellow on females. They appear all black on the tops of abdominal segments 8-10. These may be separated from a similar southern species (not known to occur in New York State), the Cherokee Clubtail (Gomphus consanguis) by their characteristic black on the top portion of their heads. Male terminal appendages and female subgenital plates are distinctive from other Gomphus species when examined under magnification.
Adult Sable Clubtails forage at forest edges and males are known to perch on rocks, overhanging grass, and floating plants of forest streams (Dunkle 2000).
Sable Clubtail larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
The Sable Clubtail has been found in New York in late June at both of its known locations. Adult males can be found at appropriate water habitats from mid-morning to late afternoon patrolling for females (Dunkle 2000). Larvae may be found in appropriate habitats year-round.
The time of year you would expect to find Sable Clubtail present and reproducing in New York.
Stenogomphurus rogersi (Gloyd, 1936)
Abbott, J.C. 2007. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the odonata of North America. Austin, Texas. Available at http://odonatacentral.com (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 1st 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.
Needham, J.G., M.J. Westfall, Jr., and M.L. May. 2000. Dragonflies of North America. Revised edition. Scientific Publishers: Gainesville, Florida. 939 pp.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2007. Biotics Database. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. 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.
Information for this guide was last updated on: April 17, 2007
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Stenogomphurus rogersi. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/sable-clubtail/. Accessed June 6, 2023.