Gray Petaltail - Tachopteryx thoreyi (Hagen in Selys, 1857)

This is a species of concern. Please report any encounters to Odonata Central.

Range & Habitat:

Reported sporadically from the highlands, ridge & valley, and northern piedmont. Unfortunately the largest known NJ colony, in Bergen County, was destroyed by a residential development.

This is a forest insect of ancient lineage which breeds in inconspicuous forest seeps. These are characterized by large concentrations of Skunk Cabbage and ferns which indicate consistent ground water seepage.

Flight Season:
Early Date: 4 June
Late Date: 30 July

Flight season charts created from records in the official database maintained by Allen Barlow.

Male Dorsal - Photo by Jim Bangma
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Our largest gray and black dragonfly. The eyes are not connected by a seam. The wings have an unusually long and thin pterostigma which is unique among NJ dragonflies. It characteristically perches on the trunks of trees and often on people wearing neutral colored clothing. Males can be seen flying up and down the trunks of trees as they meticulously search for females. They rarely stray far from their forest habitat.

The Mottled Darner perches on tree trunks, has a colorful thoracic pattern, is smaller, has eyes connected by a long eye seam and has abundant blue on the abdomen. The Harlequin Darner is also a tree trunk and people percher but is smaller and also has a long eye seam.

Conservation Status:
State: S1 Critically imperiled in NJ
Global: G4 Apparently secure globally