COBRA, MIDLAND, AND HANDSOME CLUBTAIL
A fierce Cobra Clubtail guards his rock beside the Great Miami River.
This is a Cobra Clubtail - one of the coolest dragonfly names ever. This species gets its name from the wide club, which resembles a cobra's hood. Cobra Clubtails live near large rivers. I have found a few Cobras along the Great Miami River, near Miamisburg, in the months of June and July.
Cobra Clubtails have thick, dark facial stripes. This feature can be important for distinguishing them from Midland Clubtails and the rare Skillet Clubtail, both of which have unmarked faces.
This is a Midland Clubtail. They inhabit a wider range of habitats than Cobra Clubtails. Midland Clubtails can be found at medium-sized streams and lakes (Cobras prefer large rivers). Notice that there is a small yellow triangle on the top of Segment 8 (the top segment on the club). Cobra Clubtails lack this yellow triangle.
I have found Midland Clubtails at Germantown MetroPark, Caesar Creek, and the Spring Valley Wildlife Area. They fly from mid-May through mid-June. (My personal early and late dates are May 17th and June 23rd.)
This is a Handsome Clubtail. These dragonflies look very similar to Midland Clubtails, but Handsome Clubtails have yellow spots on the top of both Segment 8 & 9 (the club). Midland Clubtails have a yellow triangle on Segment 8, but no yellow on the top of Segment 9.
This is a very teneral Midland Clubtail, resting on my pants. Photographed at Germantown MetroPark.
This is another Handsome Clubtail. This species is much less common than the Midland Clubtail and it has a more restricted range. I have seen several Handsome Clubtails at Germantown MetroPark and one in Miamisburg. They fly in late May and June.
Another Handsome Clubtail at Germantown MetroPark. Notice that the eye color and thorax color are different on this individual than the one above; this individual is more recently emerged.
Cobra Clubtail - all black on the top of S8 & S9.
Midland Clubtail - yellow triangle on the top of S8.
Handsome Clubtail - yellow spots on the top of S8 and S9.
This Midland Clubtail has an unmarked face (unlike the Cobra Clubtail, which has a thick black stripe).