Clubtail Count



Clubtail Count 2017 is over! We are currently collating the results which we will display when complete.

If you are interested in taking part in Clubtail Count 2018, please email:


The British Dragonfly Society is on the hunt for this rare and beautiful dragonfly and we need your help!


The Common Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus) is listed as Near Threatened on the British Red List. It is an elusive species which is found on a limited number of slow flowing stretches of mature, lowland rivers in southern Britain, with the River Dee supporting the most northerly population. 


We have been growing increasingly concerned in recent years about the status of the Common Clubtail, with reports from our Local Dragonfly Recorders suggesting the species might be declining. It is unknown whether this is due to a decrease in records or a genuine decline. Because of its elusive nature the current records for the Common Clubtail are patchy and many of these are dated. In order to establish the status of the species, we need to change that.


Clubtail Count is easy to take part in and could lead to your first glimpse of this beautiful insect. Once allocated a survey area, you will carry out a minimum of 3 visits between May and July, simply walking along the river bank looking for the Common Clubtail or its skin cast. We warn you, this can get addictive! You don't even need prior experience of dragonfly identification: in your volunteer's welcome pack, you will receive an ID guide, which tells you all you need to know to identify this dragonfly.


The map below shows the rivers we are interested in (Dee, Severn, Vyrnwy, Wye, Tywi, Teifi, Thames, Kennet and Arun) with the priority areas highlighted in red. The Rivers Irfon and Ithon (highlighted in orange on the map) are also of interest but of a lower priority. 

If you would like to get involved, please email Project Coordinator, David Tompkins, or phone BDS Conservation Officer, Genevieve Dalley, on 07792231925.

Stephen Burch, BDS Local Dragonfly Recorder for Oxfordshire has created some additional guidelines for people looking for Common Clubtail exuviae, which can be downloaded here

Click here if you would like more information about the Common Clubtail.

Sightings Updates

Date Location Details
22.4.17 River Thames, Reading One exuvia - very early record
29.4.17 River Thames, Abingdon Lock, SU5097 A teneral (newly emerged) male spotted
3.5.17 River Severn, Bewdley First emerged Clubtail
8.5.17 River Dee, Holt, SJ4152 Adult Clubtail
9.5.17 River Severn, Shrewsbury, SJ4813 Two exuviae
10.5.17 River Thames, Withymead Nature Reserve, SU5982 & SU6082 Two adults
10.5.17 River Thames, Shiplake One exuvia
10.5.17 River Dee, Aldford 1 adult
11.5.17 River Severn, Shrewsbury, SJ4912 13 exuviae
12.5.17 River Severn, Shrewsbury, The Quarry Park 20 exuviae, 1 adult
12.5.17 River Dee, Cheshire 1 adult
13.5.17 River Thames, Goring 11 exuviae
14.5.17 River Severn, Shrewsbury, The Quarry Park 6 exuviae, 1 adult
14.5.17 River Wye, Radnorshire, SO2142 4 exuviae (and 1 teneral)
14.5.17 Upper Thames,  SP3303 1 adult
14.5.17 River Dee, Holt 36 exuviae, 26 adults
15.5.17 River Wye, Radnorshire, SO2142 1 exuvia
17.5.17 River Dee, Holt 10 adults
18.5.17 River Wye, Radnorshire, SO2142, SO2042 2 adult, 2 exuviae, 1 male adult 
20.5.17 River Thames, near Eynsham, Oxford 1 larva which emerged
21.5.17 River Thames, Marlow 1 adult female
21.5.17 River Thames, near Eynsham, Oxford 1 larva and 2 teneral adults (one rescued from a spider's web!)
22.5.17 River Severn, Shrewsbury 58 exuviae and 1 emerging female
22.5.17 River Thames, north of Sonning Bridge 1 exuvia
1.6.17 River Thames, north of Sonning Bridge 1 exuvia