Plants and Animals

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

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Hillsdale 1 2022
Ingham 1 2012
Lenawee 1 2023
Monroe 3 2022
Saginaw 1 2012
Wayne 2 2021

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), run; Mainstem stream (3rd-4th order), riffle; 

Silt, sand needed in: Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), riffle; Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), run; Inland lake, pelagic, benthic; 

Natural Community Types

  • Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), riffle
  • Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), run
  • Inland lake, pelagic, benthic
  • Mainstem stream (3rd-4th order), run
  • Mainstem stream (3rd-4th order), riffle

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.

Management Recommendations

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.

D-frame net, dip net

Survey Period: From first week of January to fourth week of December

Time of Day: Daytime
Water Level: Low Water Levels
Water Turbidity: Low Turbidity
Survey Method Comment: Larvae

Exuvia survey

Survey Period: From second week of June to fourth week of August

Time of Day: Daytime
Survey Method Comment: Adults/Larvae

Visual, aerial net

Survey Period: From first week of June to fourth week of September

Time of Day: Daytime
Survey Method Comment: Adults


Survey References

  • Foster, S.E. and D.A. Soluk. 2004. Evaluating exuvia collection as a management tool for the federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly, Somatochlora hineana Williamson (Odonata: Cordulidae). Biological Conservation 118: 15-20.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Dunkle, S.W. 2000. Dragonflies through Binoculars. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 266pp.
  • Louton, J.A. 1982. Lotic dragonfly (Anisoptera: Odonoata) nymphs of the Southeastern United States: identification, distribution, and historical biogeography. A Dissertation, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 357pp.
  • Merritt, R.W. and K.W. Cummins. 1996. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America, 3rd ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque. 862pp.
  • Walker, E. M. 1958. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 2: The Anisoptera- Four Families. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 318pp.