Common Clubtail

Gomphus vulgatissimus

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Length: 50mm

Flight period: May to July

The Common Clubtail (Gomphus vulgatissimus) is a medium sized species with a distinctively club-shaped abdomen as suggested by its common name. Unlike most dragonflies the eyes are separate and do not meet at the top of the head, which aids identification, and in mature adults the eyes are dull green. The common name was standardised in 2016 to 'Common Clubtail' from 'Common Club-tail' and previously from 'Club-tailed Dragonfly'.

Females and teneral males: mainly black with extensive yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen.

Mature males: most of the yellow markings turn green although the spots on the sides of abdominal segments 7-9 remain bright yellow.

Management Profile


In Britain the Common Clubtail is a riverine species typically associated with moderate to slow flowing water. It breeds in unpolluted, meandering rivers, which have a depositional nature. 

Status & Distribution

Very local. Some rivers in southern England and Wales (including the Thames, Arun, Dee, Severn, Wye and Teifi).

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Similar species

Unlikely to be confused with any other UK species.


Recreational use of rivers and excessive/unsympathetic river dredging and maintenance together with water pollution and habitat loss are among the threats to this species.