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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide

Image of An adult female arrowhead spiketail.Zoom+ An adult female arrowhead spiketail. © Allen Barlow

Arrowhead spiketail

Cordulegaster obliqua

Species Group: Invertebrate

Conservation Status

State: Special Concern



The arrowhead spiketail is a large brown and bright yellow dragonfly 2.5 - 3 inches in length. The abdomen has a single dorsal row of yellow arrow-shaped spots. The female is similar but has a thicker abdomen and a long, conspicuous ovipositor projecting well beyond segment ten.

Image of Range of the arrowhead spiketail in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the arrowhead spiketail in New Jersey.


Arrowhead spiketails are a forest specialist. This species usually breeds in small, sluggish, mulch-bottomed forest streams and trickles. An abundance of skunk cabbage along streams is often an indicator of appropriate habitat. These streams may occasionally dry up, leaving only damp mud and scattered puddles. This species is currently known to have a limited range within New Jersey. It has been recorded from scattered localities in the Highlands and Ridge & Valley regions.


Nymphs feed on aquatic invertebrate; adults on flying insects.


Arrowhead spiketails emerge in May and adults are active through early August. The female flies to the stream and lays her eggs in mud or other sediments.


Due to the rarity of this dragonfly and its habitat, the arrowhead spiketail is a Special Concern species. Habitat destruction and ground water disturbance are two of the greatest threats facing this species.

Text derived from the book, Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey. 2009. By Allen E. Barlow, David M. Golden and Jim Bangma.

Edited and updated by Brian Henderson in 2011.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
       Class: Insecta
          Order: Odonata
             Family: Cordulegastridae
                Genus: Cordulegaster
                   Species: C. obliqua

Find Related Info: Invertebrates, Special concern

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