This Week’s Endangered Species in Focus: Laura’s Clubtail (Stylurus laurae)

This Week’s Species: Laura’s Clubtail (Stylurus laurae) Clubtail2 Clubtail1 Status: Endangered Description: Laura’s Clubtail is a dragonfly with green eyes and a pale face with one or two dark cross bars. It has prominent green or yellow stripes on the thorax (the area between the head and the abdomen), and dark abdomen with a yellow stripe on its back.

  • It is named “clubtail” for a club-like widening at the end of its abdomen.
  • Laura’s Clubtail is about six centimeters long
  • Laura’s Clubtail eggs can take between five and 30 days to hatch
  • Once hatched, larvae spend two to four years in sand and mud river bottoms
  • Larvae emerge from the water and molt into adults in June. Adults die in early fall of the same year

Important Dates: Sept. 28, 2010: Listed as Endangered Jan. 1, 2014: Receives Habitat Protection Range: Laura’s Clubtail is only known to occur in two sites in Ontario; along Big Creek and Big Otter Creek in the Tillsonburg and Long Point area near Lake Erie.

  • Found from Texas and the Florida Panhandle up to southwest Ontario

Habitat:

  • Larvae need shallow, sandy or sadny-muddy bottomed creeks with forested shorelines;
  • Sensitive to water quality degradation and are only found un unpolluted waters;
  • During their adult life, they require forest cover beside the creek.
  • Adults use riffle areas in the stream for foraging and require vegetation along the creek to perch between flights

Threats:

  • Laura’s Clubtail has specific habitat needs and is sensitive to pollution, habitat loss and degradation are potential threats to the species
  • Development, agricultural practices, and invasive species – especially round goby – may also degrade Laura’s Clubtail habitat
  • Many dragonflies are also killed when hit by cars

What You Can Do to Help Laura’s Clubtail:

  • You can help improve dragonfly habitat and keep Ontario’s water safe and clean by maintaining natural vegetation next to rivers. The roots of plants reduce erosion and can stop soil from washing into water bodies.

Fun Facts:

  • Laura’s Clubtail is named for Laura Ditzler, a member of the group that first identified the species in 1931;
  • Laura’s Clubtail was first recorded in Ontario in 1999;
  • Laura’s Clubtail is one of over 170 different kinds of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) in Ontario
  • When Laura’s Clubtail are larvae, they start eating single-celled organisms and move on to tadpoles and small fish as they grow larger. Adults feed on small flying insects;
  • Newly emerged adults are at greater risk from predators – frogs, spiders, larger dragonflies and birds – because their exoskeletons have not yet hardened;
  • “LAURA THE DRAGONFLY” has FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/LauraTheDragonfly
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