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Species Gomphus exilis - Lancet Clubtail

Lancet Clubtail by Stonecoal Lake - Gomphus exilis - male GomphusSp622 - Gomphus exilis - male Gomphus exilis (Lancet Clubtail) - Gomphus exilis - male UI Gomphid 071809-1 - Gomphus exilis - male Lancet Clubtail? - Gomphus exilis Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis) - Gomphus exilis - male Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis) - Gomphus exilis - male Dragonfly - unidentified - Gomphus exilis
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Anisoptera (Dragonflies)
Family Gomphidae (Clubtails)
Genus Gomphus
No Taxon (Subgenus - Phanogomphus)
Species exilis (Lancet Clubtail)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
A member of the Sub-genus Phanogomphus, see here for discussion
Size
length 43 mm
Identification
Abdomen has dorsal yellow stripe along full length. See Dunkle (1) for other marks. Most common eastern clubtail.
Male
In dorsal view, note the blue/gray eyes, brown thorax, yellow stripe on all segments (although weak on S8 & S10 in this male):

The only widespread eastern species with such a complete stripe. Abdomen narrow with only slightly expanded club on S8 & S9. In the terminalia, the dorsal, superior, appendages are lancet-shaped without a lateral angle. The ventral, inferior, appendages are wider than the dorsal and give the appearance of the dorsal appendages having a lateral flange.
In lateral view, note the brown thorax with a narrow dorsal stripe, 2 wide yellow lateral stripes, and a very thin yellow stripe between the upper lateral stripe and the dorsal stripe:

Note also the extensive yellow on the sides of S8 & S9 (= the weak club), and the yellow patches on the lower sides of all other abdominal appendages. The upper, superior, appendages of the terminalia are actually lancet-shaped without lateral or dorsal spikes but appear forked in the right appendage of this male. This ‘fork’ is actually the left ventral, inferior, appendage.
For males, the terminalia are the only consistent absolute diagnostic feature:


Female
Very similar to the other members in the Sub-genus; images in Guide. Nikula (2) comments "Safely identified only through examination of reproductive structures." Dunkle (1) comments "Female subgenital plate 1/5-1/4 as long as S9, V-notched halfway to its base." See photo of the diagnostic subgenital plate:
Range
Eastern US and adjacent Canada; absent from Florida peninsula
Habitat
Ponds bordered by marshes and lakes with sandy bottoms
Season
March to September
Food
Adults and larvae predatory on other insects
Life Cycle
Larvae aquatic, predatory.
Print References
Dunkle, p. 70, plate 8 #3 (1)
Nikula, pp. 92-93 (3)--excellent photographs showing the field marks well and the differences between the sexes
Works Cited
1.Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America
Sidney W. Dunkle. 2000. Oxford Press.
2.Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts
Blair Nikula, Jennifer L. Loose, Matthew R. Burne. 2003. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
3.Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies
Donald and Lillian Stokes. 2002. Little, Brown and Company.