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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide

Image of An adult male gray petaltail.Zoom+ An adult male gray petaltail. © Glenn Corbiere

Gray petaltail

Tachopteryx thoreyi

Species Group: Invertebrate

Conservation Status

State: Endangered



New Jersey’s largest gray and black dragonfly, the gray petaltail reaches 3 inches. The thorax and abdomen are gray with black accents on the shoulders and a black dorsal band and arrow-shaped markings on the abdomen. Their distinctive stigmas are long and thin.

Image of Range of the gray petaltail in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the gray petaltail in New Jersey.


Although the gray petaltail is found throughout the eastern United States, in New Jersey it is limited to Bergen, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties. This woodland species is found in small seepages in habitat abundant with skunk cabbage and ferns.


Nymphs feed on aquatic invertebrates. Gray petaltail adults feed on large flying insects including other dragonflies.


Flight season is from early June to late July with gray petaltails rarely leaving their breeding habitat. Eggs are deposited in permanent seeps where the semi-aquatic nymphs develop.


The gray petaltail was listed as endangered in New Jersey after the largest known colony was destroyed during residential development.

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: Petaluridae
                Genus: Tachopteryx
                   Species: T. thoreyi

Find Related Info: Invertebrates

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