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Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Sanddragon.

 Updated: 2/22/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Common Sanddragon is an in-flight hunter, zipping back-and-forth from rest to ambush in mere seconds.



The Common Sanddragon is a dragonfly that prefers moving water. It can be found by streams, creeks and small rivers, flying over and around the water in search of insect prey. It rests on rocks, boulders, logs or branches. On very hot days, raising its long abdomen straight into the air helps it cool off.

Females have a slender dark brown abdomen; males have a slight bulge at the tip of their abdomen. A yellow mark at the top of each abdominal segment adds color to the 'tail'. The front of the face is yellow. Large eyes on the sides of the head vary in color depending on the surroundings. All four transparent wings have a single black bar on the top edge, near the wing's tip. The sides of the thorax have alternating diagonal stripes of yellow, brown and possibly blue.

Females will cruise along the surface of the moving water alone, occasionally dropping a fertilized egg into it by dipping her long abdomen into the water. Once the egg hatches, a young naiad (juvenile) emerges and immediately begins burrowing into the sandy bottom of the stream (and the name 'sanddragon' becomes clear). The stout naiad looks more like a crustacean than a dragonfly, and molts. A naiad eats other aquatic insects and lives underwater. After growing and developing, it crawls from the water, develops wings and becomes a fully mature adult. Adults eat flying insect prey and remain above water for the rest of their lives. They are most active in summer and fall months.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Gomphidae
          Genus: Progomphus
            Species: obscurus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Progomphus obscurus
Other Name(s): Sanddragon
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 43mm to 71mm (1.68in to 2.77in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, brown, yellow, white
Descriptors: dragonfly, flying, stripes, beneficial
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.