Entomology Collection TitleImage Bugs Pinned
Species Page - Ophiogomphus colubrinus
browse search results ->Ophiogomphus colubrinus ->species page

E-mail this Page   
Print this Page   
Link to this Page   

scientific name    Ophiogomphus colubrinus    

common name     Boreal Snaketail

Near freshwater bodies, such as lakes or streams.

Flying from early May to late August or early September (Needham et. al., 1955).

Coloration is dominantly green on the head, eyes and thorax, with a black outline around the labrum and facial sutures as well as black lateral stripes on thorax. Eyes do not meet dorsally on the head. The anterior thoracic strip is divided by a narrow green line seen in many other Ophiogomphus species. Legs are entirely black, except for trace green markings on the femora and tibia of females. The abdomen is primarily black with interrupted dorsal and lateral stripes that appear bright yellow and noticeably widen on enlarged segments 7, 8 and 9 and continue on to the caudal appendages of males. Length of the abdomen can vary up to 10mm between individuals. Unlike most other species, male boreal snaketails have small dark coloured horns on their head similar to females; however, females of this species have two pairs of horns, one in front and one behind the eye (Needham et. al. 2000).

life history
In 2004, K. Gibbs et. al. studied several species of Ophiogomphus coexisting in Maine. Ophiogomphus colubrinus was not included in this study, but it can be assumed that it has a similar life history to its close relatives because of the discovery of synchronous emergence patterns of Ophiogomphus species. Sexually mature adults are completely terrestrial and are capable of flying great distances over land in search for food, but most of the adult life is spent near water where mate selection, reproduction and oviposition take place. Mating usually occurs during June, July and August. Females oviposit their eggs close to a shallow freshwater source. Aquatic naiads emerge from the eggs during the summer and molt 9 to 15 times as they develop into the final instar larvae. The final instars enter diapause to overwinter under the ice and emerge from the water two years later. Metamorphosis is complete when the larvae emerge from the water and then molt into winded adults.

Not currently a concern. The boreal snaketail is widespread and extremely abundant within its range.

diet info
Diet is likely very similar to other species of Ophiogomphus, consisting mainly of mosquitoes and other aquatic flying insects found near water.

Naiad diet includes aquatic larvae and other small animals it is able to grasp, like fish and tadpoles.

Found commonly coast to coast across Canada and north eastern United States, but not common south of Pennsylvania.

quick link

Comments (0)Add New Comment

Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.

Add New Comment (all fields are required)

Related Species Info
Display Hierarchy
References (5)
Specimen Info
There are 10 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (10)


Logo Department of Museums and Collections ServicesLogo University of Alberta