Species At Risk

Rapids Clubtail

(Gomphus quadricolor)

endangered provincially and designated endangered federally

Rapids Clubtail
Rapids Clubtail occurrences map


The Rapids Clubtail is a relatively small, 42 to 45 millimetre-long and brightly coloured dragonfly. Its eyes are bluish- green, with a light yellowish-green face that is striped with two dark lines, a brownish-black and yellowish-green striped body and transparent wings. Like all dragonflies, the Rapids Clubtail begins its life as an aquatic larva and transforms into a winged adult during the summer.

Action we are taking:


The Rapids Clubtail is a globally rare to uncommon species found throughout eastern North America. Within this range the species and its habitat are locally distributed and there are large areas where the species does not occur.

Most populations of the Rapids Clubtail are located in the U.S. Midwest, but range extends from northern Alabama and Georgia to southern Ontario, and from Maine to eastern Minnesota. In Ontario, the Rapids Clubtail has only been found in four rivers in southern and eastern Ontario: the Thames, Humber, Credit and Mississippi.


The Rapids Clubtail is typically found in clear, cool medium-to-large rivers with gravel shallows and muddy pools. Larvae occupy quiet muddy pools. Adult males perch on exposed rocks and other projections in the rapids. Males are quite territorial and make short flights over the water, repeatedly returning to the same perch. Adult females typically inhabit forests along riverbanks, and only visit shallows and pools when they are ready to mate and lay eggs.


The primary threat to the Rapids Clubtail is the degradation of river habitats. Activities which impede or alter the quantity and quality of water in the rivers, such as dams and pollution pose threats. Such degradation has led to the apparent demise of this species on the Credit River and the decline of the population on the Humber River.


The Rapids Clubtail is endangered and receives automatic species protection under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. General habitat protection also protects the species’ habitat from damage and destruction. A recovery strategy and a species-specific habitat regulation are being developed.

Rapids Clubtail has also been assessed nationally as endangered by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

What You Can Do to the Rapids Clubtail

  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Don’t disturb or harass wildlife. Be respectful and observe from a distance.
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Rapids Clubtail. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca .
  • Soil erosion and runoff is a source of pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides to watercourses in Ontario. There are many things that you can do to help reduce these effects and you might even be eligible for funding assistance. For more information on these and other programs, contact the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association or visit: www.ontariosoilcrop.org .
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Rapids Clubtail on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Harmful alien organisms whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, the economy, or society are called “invasive species”. These invaders seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To lean what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com ; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca ; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca .

Did you know?

Adult Rapids Clubtails only live for three to four weeks, between early June and mid-July.

Did you know?

Larvae bury themselves under a fine layer of sediment and ‘breathe’ through the exposed tip of their abdomen.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.