Phanogomphus kurilis (Pacific Clubtail)

Phanogomphus kurilis (Pacific Clubtil). Note that the white spot on S10 is off center and is a solar reflection.

This is another genus of Gomphidae (clubtails) that used to be a subgenus of Gomphus until the revisions in 2017. Pacific Clubtails are a medium sized dragonfly (TL 48-56mm), with bluish green eyes, a yellow face, and black legs. Their thorax has 3 black stripes, the middle of which is partially bisected by a thin yellow green line, and 3 yellow green stripes. The abdomen is mostly black, with pale to bright yellow green darts along the median, and similarly colored small dots along the lateral edge. The terminal segment (S10) is black on top. 

The range/habitat of Phanogomphus kurilis doesn’t really overlap with any similar species, but 3 come close. Phanogomphus graslinellus (Pronghorn Clubtail) has a wide black line between the bottom/posterior yellow stripes, whereas that line is narrow on P. kurilis. They also have a yellow strip on their tibia, and a yellow mark on S10, as opposed to the all black legs and S10 of P kurilis. Gomphurus lynnae (Columbia Clubtail) has 5, rather than 3, black thorax stripes, and has some level of pruinosity on the thorax and first 2 abdominal segments, which is not found on Pacific Clubtails, or any other clubtail in our region. It’s possible that an old, washed out Pacific Clubtail could be taken for a Stylurus olivaceus (Olive Clubtail) but the side of the thorax in that species is almost uniformly gray olive, with only very thin black lines. 

Though Phanogomphus kurilis can be found in a variety of habitats, from streams to rivers to ponds and lakes, it’s distribution is rather spotty in the PNW. It is only known from Skamania and Thurston Counties in Washington. East of the Cascades it’s known from the Owyhee River in sw Idaho/sw Oregon and Cascade Lake in central Idaho. But it is found in many places west of the Cascades in Oregon, and is widely distributed in Northern California. 

Phanogomphus kurilis

Size- TL 48-56mm

Habitat- Varies from rocky lakes to muddy ponds to large slow rivers and fast streams. 

Range- Spotty in Washington and east of the Cascades. Common in western Oregon and northern California 

Flight Season- May to August

Face to face with Phanogomphus kurilis (Pacific Clubtail)

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