Description male female larva

Gomphus vulgatissimus

Gomphus vulgatissimus (Linnaeus, 1758)


Common name: Club-tailed Dragonfly

Preferred environment: slow-flowing lowland rivers and streams with muddy beds preferring tree-lined sections; also in lakes in parts of Europe.

Flight period: late April to July; mid May to early July in Britain.

Adult habitat and habits: adults mature well way from breeding site particularly in woodland where that feed at canopy level and are hard to observe. When mature males return to breeding sites and perch alongside river. Also patrol low over water. Mating as been recorded well away from river.

Oviposition site and behaviour: mated females oviposit alone, flying low over water surface and releasing eggs by dipping abdomen. Select areas of very slow current as eggs do not have structures found in many gomphids which prevent them being moved by current.

Larval habitat and habits: larvae burrow into silt at bottom of river favouring parts of rivers such as meanders where silt is deepest

Emergence behaviour: emergence is highly synchronised at individual sites. It occurs during morning. Larvae emerge on any vertical or horizontal structure including short vegetation, tree trunks and bare ground such as areas of bank trampled by cattle coming to drink.

Range: central and northern Europe from southern France and central Italy to central Finland. Absent from most of Iberia, SE Europe, and northern Scandinavia. Found also in European Russia as far east as ?. In Ireland recorded once in Co. Cork in mid 19th Century. Recently found in rivers in Wales where not suspected of being present, so possibility remains that undetected populations may occur on rivers in southern Ireland.

Determination of adults: species is keyed and diagnostic characters are figured in Askew (1988). Adults of both sexes are illustrated in colour in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997).

Determination of larvae: key to mature larva in Askew and Brooks. Whole larva is figured in Askew (1988). Photograp of mature larva in Brooks (1997).


Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 2). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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