Common Clubtail

Gomphus vulgatissimus

The Common Clubtail dragonfly is a striking animal found almost entirely on slow moving rivers.


The Common Clubtail dragonfly gets its name from its club-shaped abdomen. Adults grow to 50mm long and are black with yellow markings. On males most of the yellow markings turn green. One very distinguishing feature is that, unlike most dragonflies, the eyes of the Common Clubtail do not meet at the top of the head, instead they are placed more on the side of the head, which must be an adaptation to give them an excellent field of view. Adults can be seen from May to July.


The Common Clubtail dragonfly is an almost entirely riverine species. It prefers rivers with moderate to slow flowing water.

Distribution and threats

Populations of the Common Clubtail dragonfly are localised. It is found in a handful of rivers in southern England and Wales. They are currently listed as Near Threatened in the Red Data Book. Threats include river dredging, loss of habitat, and pollution.