Cordulegaster erronea
Tiger spiketail

Key Characteristics

A large blackish dragonfly with green eyes, yellow thoracic stripes and bold yellow rings around the abdomen. Adults are fairly large, average 75 mm. Thorax has two wide yellow lateral stripes. Upper face black rear of head behind eyes black.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: SH
  • Global Rank: G4


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Cordulegaster erronea

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


These burrowers are found in lotic - depositional - headwater streams. Larvae are found in spring seepages and less frequently encountered in largers streams or at low elevations. Adults appear in river/stream/riparian/floodplain corridor. The males fly low slow patrols along shady streams, frequently hovering. Small spring trickles, too small for fish, in partial shade, sometimes gravelly without silt.

Specific Habitat Needs

Sandy substrate needed in Bog Sandy substrate, silt, detritus, slow gradient, rock and soft substrates needed in Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Run Slow gradient, rock and soft substrates needed in Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Riffle, Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Pool, Mainstem Stream (3rd-4th order), Pool

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


There is a lack of scientific knowledge of this species, therefore, threats and management recommendations are difficult. Likely highly impacted by habitat degradation.

Survey Methods

Search the banks and protruding rocks of rapid streams for exuviae (cast skin of dragonfly larvae). The males fly low slow patrols along shady streams, frequently hovering. Males forage in fields, swamps, and along trails late in the day until dusk. Males fly from about 10 am to as late as 7pm, peaking about 6 pm. When encountering emergent grass, they do not reverse direction but fly off through the forest seeking other trickles. Periodically they perch obliquely on twigs from near the ground to 15 ft up.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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