Back in the summer of 2008, while I was out photographing random bits of nature at the Carpenter Nature Center, I came across a mysterious dragonfly, at least it was a mystery to me.
I knew right away that it was a dragonfly, instead of a damselfly, due to its large size and the fact that the hind wing and forewing were not the same shape, like those of a damselfly. I could also tell that it was in the clubtail family, despite the fact that the last couple segments of the abdomen are not much larger then the sections before them, because the eyes where separated, and clubtails are the only dragons who's eyes are separated.
However this was like no clubtail that I had ever seen before and when I tried to identify it using the Dragonflies of the North Woods book I could not find anything that matched. There was only one thing left for me to do and that was to send pictures into bugguide.net and see if anyone online could help.
I found out that it is a russet-tipped clubtail. The reason why I could not find it in Dragonflies of the North Woods is because this dragonfly has only been reported in one county in Minnesota, and that is Houston County in the south east corner of the state, according to the Odonta Central website where they keep records and checklists. Carpenter is part of Washington County so that would make this a new county record however I have been told, while attending dragonfly seminars with the Minnesota Odonata Survey Project, that for a new county or state records you have to submit a sample and I do not feel that it is necessary to kill a helpful dragonfly when I can take many pictures like you see in this post.