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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide

Image of A brook snaketail dragonfly.Zoom+ A brook snaketail dragonfly. © Allen Barlow

Brook snaketail

Ophiogomphus aspersus

Species Group: Invertebrate

Conservation Status

State: Threatened



The brook snaketail ranges from 1.7” to 1.8” with females frequently larger than males. Their thorax, face, and eyes are bright green and their abdomen is black accented with yellow arrow-shaped markings along the side of each segment. Males have a pronounced swelling, or club, at the tip of their abdomen, which is significantly reduced in females. Brook snaketails have clear wings with black veins throughout.

Image of Range of the brook snaketail in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the brook snaketail in New Jersey.


Brook snaketails are found in clear sand-bottomed fast-moving streams surrounded by dense woodlands. In New Jersey, they are limited to the northwest Ridge and Valley areas,


Nymphs feed on aquatic invertebrates and sometimes even small fish and tadpoles. Adults catch soft-bodied flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, and moths.


Emerging in mid-May, brook snaketails will remain active through August. After mating, females will oviposit their eggs on the surface of the water.


The brook snaketail is considered Threatened in New Jersey due its rarity and lack of suitable breeding habitat.

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 Karena Di Leo in 2011.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
       Class: Insecta
          Order: Odonata
             Family: Gomphidae
                Genus: Ophiogomphus
                   Species: O. aspersus

Find Related Info: Invertebrates, Threatened

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