Yellow-Legged Dragonfly, Gomphus flavipes

The yellow-legged dragonfly (Gomphus flavipes), also known as the river clubtail, is a species of dragonfly that can be found in Europe near large streams and rivers. Its range extends from France to Siberia, the largest range of all members of its family, Gomphidae. It has become rare in Western Europe, has a scattered distribution in areas of central Europe, and does not occur in Southern Europe. However, its exact range is currently unknown. It is threatened by water pollution and river regulations and appears in the Annex IV of Habitats Directive.

The yellow-legged dragonfly reaches an average body length between 1.9 and 2.1 inches, with a wingspan of up to 3.1 inches. As is typical to members of its genus, this species has wide set eyes. Both males and females have yellow legs, but males hold blues eyes while females hold green eyes. It is a predator that hunts other flying insects.

The yellow-legged dragonfly can be seen between the months of June and September. Mating occurs between June and July, after which females will fly up to eleven inches above the surface of the water, laying eggs in the soil. This species prefers to lay its eggs in muddy, sandy, fine, or clay-like soils, where their larvae can develop safely.  Larvae develop for up to three years, consuming a number of different small invertebrates. The emergence of the larvae and subsequent transformation into adults occurs during the summer months in many areas of its range, although not all, so it is widely accepted as a summer species.

Image Caption: Young female specimen of the dragonfly Gomphus flavipes (“River Clubtail”). Credit: Christian Fischer/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)