Prepared by Stewart E. Hamill

The Rapids Clubtail is a small, brightly coloured dragonfly which lives in clear, cool, medium to large rivers with wooded shorelines, gravel shallows, and muddy pools. Adult males perch on exposed rocks in the rapids. Adult females inhabit shoreline forests, moving to the rapids when ready to mate. Eggs are laid over the rapids and the nymphs live in quiet, muddy, downstream pools.

This species is a globally rare to uncommon dragonfly found throughout Eastern North America, in a range extending from Maine to Minnesota, including southern Ontario. In Ontario it has been found in only four rivers: the Credit, the Thames, the Humber and the Mississippi. The population in the Credit River may be extirpated. The species is listed as endangered on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List under the Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Threats to survival and recovery include dam construction, shoreline alteration, pollution, removal of shoreline forests, exotic predatory species, roadkill and climate change. Limiting factors include low population numbers, limited distribution and apparent sensitivity to specific habitat features. Knowledge gaps include a lack of understanding of the reasons for its limited distribution and for its habitat sensitivity.

The recovery goal is to ensure the long-term survival of Rapids Clubtail in the province by protecting existing populations and by restoring populations in appropriate habitat where feasible.

The recovery objectives are to:

  1. protect, maintain and improve habitat in the four rivers in Ontario where Rapids Clubtail has been found;
  2. implement a monitoring program for the locations where Rapids Clubtail is known to exist;
  3. conduct additional inventory for Rapids Clubtail in suitable habitat; and,
  4. initiate research to address knowledge gaps for Rapids

It is important to ensure adequate protection of habitat and water quality for the species' survival and recovery.

The locations where the species has been found in the Credit, Thames, Humber and Mississippi Rivers should all be prescribed as habitat in a habitat regulation. At each location, the area prescribed as habitat should include the section of the river containing the rapids and the pools below the rapids, plus the wooded shores on either side extending inland to include any forest which is within 800 metres of the shoreline.