E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Octogomphus specularis
Family: Gomphidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)

© Ian Lane  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1178)

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Distribution of Octogomphus specularis in British Columbia.
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Source: (for the static map) RBCM and BCCDC 2004 ©
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Species Information


The face is yellow-green striped with black. The top and sides of the thorax are pale green to green-yellow with a broad black stripe between them. The abdomen is nearly all black, and the male’s is widest at segment 10. Length: ♂ 49 mm, ♀ 50 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., early June to late September.

Genus Description

This genus contains a single distinctive species restricted to the Pacific coast forests of North America from British Columbia to Baja California. The genus name comes from the eight points of the male’s appendages: the uppers are broad and forked, the lower divided into four points. The hooked outer branches of these claspers give the species its English name.


Family Description

A large family, but poorly represented in our region. B.C. has only six species and the Yukon appears to have none (although two species may live in the southeast). Compared to some other families, clubtails are not common here, but they are easily recognizable by their widely separated eyes and their green or yellow bodies striped in brown and black. The tip of the abdomen, especially in males, is enlarged, giving them their English name. Females lack an ovipositor and drop their eggs directly into clear streams and along the sandy shallows of larger lakes; they lay their eggs without the protection of their mates. Larvae burrow in the bottom sediments of these water bodies.
Field Notes

Lives along wooded streams draining lakes. Adults perch on rocks along the stream or on trees and bushes away from water.


Pacific Coastal. In B.C., found only in the lower Fraser Valley, where it reaches the northern limit of its range.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS2RedNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-07-08 11:12:29 PM]
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