Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Texas Spiketail Dragonfly

I just described a new species of dragonfly in the genus Cordulegaster. The common name for this family of dragonflies is Spiketails because the females typically have long ovipositors making it look like they have a spiked tail. The formal description of the species should be in print in a couple of months, but here are some pictures. It seems to have a strong association with Pitcher Plant bogs and is now known in five counties in Texas and just over the border in western Louisiana. I will be describing the larva soon. This species probably remained undiscovered because of its very early flight season (March-April) and restricted habitat of pitcher plant bogs. I'm hoping to learn more about its natural history this spring.

New Texas Spiketail
Male perched on a dead pitcher plant.

New Texas Spiketail

New Texas Spiketail
New Texas Spiketail

New Texas Spiketail
Exuviae or shed skin.


  1. John,
    A terrific precedent and nice reward for all your efforts with ode central!

    How were you able to link the exuvia to this species?


  2. Very interesting and very nice pictures !
    Olivier Esnault

  3. John - this is all so amazing and wonderful. Thanks for posting. I've forwarded the discovery on to the CalOdes and SoWest Odes groups as inspiration!

  4. John,

    Pretty cool ode! I can see how it could have been overlooked.


About Me

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John is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin. Kendra is a Professor at St. Edwards University in Austin. John has focused on dragonflies and damselflies in his career. He has two books Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-central United States and The Damselflies of Texas. He is currently working on the Dragonflies of Texas. John and Kendra are also currently both working on revising the Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America. We have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world where we enjoy taking photos of pretty much anything that will allow us to capture its image. We are lucky enough to be able to teach students about the amazing biodiversity we see and to travel and photograph together.