GRAY PETALTAIL & BROWN SPIKETAIL

Gray Petaltails are very localized and somewhat uncommon dragonflies. They live near forest seeps. Cedar Bog near Urbana is a good place to see them, and there is also a good population at Germantown MetroPark. I usually see Gray Petaltails in late May and June. 

I found this Gray Petaltail in the Edge of Appalachia nature preserve (Adams County, Ohio) on July 3, 2016. Notice how wide apart his eyes are. The only other dragonflies in Ohio with widely-spaced eyes are members of the clubtail family. All other dragonflies in Ohio have eyes that meet at a point or seam. 


Gray Petaltails are gentle giants. They often land on people (and are completely harmless). The individual at left was photographed at Germantown MetroPark. He was hanging out on a fence rail in a parking lot, untroubled by the presence of people and cars.  

Brown Spiketail dragonfly, perched at Cedar Bog. Ohio has a few species of spiketail dragonflies, but the only one I have been able to photograph so far is the Brown Spiketail. They perch often and are fairly easy to approach. 

A newly-emerged Brown Spiketail with its exuvia. Found along the boardwalk at Cedar Bog, May 28, 2016.

Another Brown Spiketail at Cedar Bog. There is a very similar species called the Delta-spotted Spiketail. However, Delta-spotted Spiketails have not been documented in western Ohio. From what I have read, all of the individuals examined at Cedar Bog have proven to be Brown Spiketails. 

Brown Spiketails fly in late May and early June. The last week in May is usually an ideal time to find them at Cedar Bog. 

Gray Petaltails have a habit of perching flat against tree trunks. They are fairly well camouflaged on tree bark, despite their large size. 

Brown Spiketails usually live near fens. The individual at left was photographed near Travertine Fen. This location is not accessible without a permit, but there is a public bike path that runs along one edge of Travertine Fen. I found this Brown Spiketail in the ditch right beside the bike path.