Stylurus plagiatus
Russet-tipped clubtail

Key Characteristics

Total length 2.2 - 2.6 inches (5.7-6.6 cm). Greenish with brown thoracic markings, green eyes. Club is yellow & brown or black; abdominal segments 8 & 9 have yellow spots and/or bands on top and sides. Males readily recognized by gray-green thorax and rusty orange club. Female abdomen very elongate and practically clubless.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Stylurus plagiatus

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.


Collected from shallow, clear, sandy-bottomed coastal plain rivers and lakes. Frequents riffles. Adults can be found in river/stream/riparian/floodplain corridors or over the lake.

Specific Habitat Needs

Shallow, sand needed in Mainstem Stream (3rd-4th order), Riffle, Mainstem Stream (3rd-4th order), Run Silt, sand needed in Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Riffle, Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Run, Inland Lake, Pelagic, Benthic

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.


Species is sensitive to continued decrease in water quality. Also affected by impoundments, channelization, dredging, siltation, non-point pollution (agricultural), and industrial pollution. Timber harvests may increase siltation and cause a decrease in dissolved oxygen.

Survey Methods

An exuvia survey consists of searching the banks and protruding rocks of rapid streams for the cast skin of dragonfly larvae. Adults patrol the stream corridors. Forages from leaves along forest edges and in treetops, often perching facing vegetation. Males patrol areas of 40+ yards diameter over deep water from 9 am until dark. Periodically they hover for up to 30 seconds or more, facing two or three directions, then make off to a new location at high speed.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 25, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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