Ophiogomphus carolus Needham, 1897
NatureServe Global Rank: G5
Virginia State Rank: S1
VA DGIF Tier: IV
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Riffle Snaketail is a small clubtail with a deep green thorax lined with black, and a black abdomen with pointed yellow lines on all segments, becoming smaller on the last two segments. It also has yellow marks laterally on all segments. The size is 40 - 45 mm (1.5 - 1.8 inches).
Similar species: The Riffle Snaketail is very similar to several other closely related species such as the Brook Snaketail (O. aspersus) and Maine Snaketail (O. mainensis). See illustrations in Paulson (2011) p. 310 or Nikula et al. (2003) p. 91. The common and widespread Eastern Pondhawk has a green thorax, but never occurs in the fast-flowing streams inhabited by snaketails, and its abdomen does not have narrow yellow markings.
North American Range: It occurs in Eastern Canada south to Virginia, west to the Great Lakes states. In Virginia it is only recorded from a few northwestern counties such as Augusta and Highland counties. There are no recent records.
VA Observations by Locality: Augusta | Highland
Flight season and broods: There are records for the Riffle Snaketail from 4 June - 23 June in Virginia.
Aquatic Habitat: The Riffle Snaketail prefers fast-flowing streams and small rivers.
Behavior and Ecology: Typical of many dragonflies, the Riffle Snaketail will perch on vegetation, although in cooler weather it prefers the ground.
Population trend and potential threats: Apparently secure in its northern range, but critically imperiled throughout its southern range (NatureServe, 2011).
Management practices: Monitor and protect occupied habitats.
References: Carle, F.L., 1982. A contribution to the knowledge of the Odonata. Ph.D. thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. 1,095 pp.
NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer (Accessed: Jan. 8, 2013).
Nikula, Blair, J. L. Loose, and M. R. Burne. 2003. A field guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts. MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, Mass. 197 pp.
Paulson, Dennis. 2011. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton University Press. Princeton and Oxford. 538 pp.
Roble, Steven M. 2011. Dragonflies of Virginia- Flight dates. Unpub.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM