Jan 27

#LoveSpecies nominee: common clubtail

Nominated by: British Dragonfly Society

Why do you love it?

The common clubtail has a misleading name, it is not common at all in the UK! This is a very unique species, with its bulbous eyes set apart from each other, its bright golden and black colouring and the clubbed tip of the body. While they are developing, which takes three to five years, common clubtails live as larvae underwater in rivers, burying themselves in the sediment but leaving their back ends sticking out to breath and their eyes poking out to watch for prey. This dragonfly is harder to see than most because of its habit of leaving the river and living in the tops of nearby trees as an adult.

What are the threats to the common clubtail?

This beautiful but elusive dragonfly is threatened by major works carried out on rivers, which destroys the plants they need to emerge into adults. Scouring of the river bed also removes the silt they need to bury in. Excessive silt build up is likewise a problem, suffocating the larvae, as is poor water quality. Fast moving boats on rivers are dangerous for this insect, with the wash created disturbing them during emergence. The removal of woodland near to rivers limits the amount of suitable habitat for this species, and finally, our changing climate is a potentially serious threat, with bad weather during emergence reducing their numbers and hot weather also killing the larvae.

What are you doing to save it?

Records of the common clubtail in the UK are mostly old and very patchy. The British Dragonfly Society desperately needs to understand the population sizes and distribution of this dragonfly to conserve it. This is why the society is running Clubtail Count 2017, calling on all nature lovers to join in the search for this beautiful insect. No previous experience of dragonfly identification is needed, you will be taught all you need to know to find this local specialist.

Visit the British Dragonfly Society website to find out more.



Feb 27

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Feb 20, 2015 

Evolution favors the big: Marine mammals have grown larger over time


Potato cod

The average marine creature today is about 150 times larger than its counterparts that lived during the Cambrian period. The study looked at body size data for marine species groups including the echinoderms and chordates.

View original article


Purple sea urchin

 Article originally published on Saturday, Feb 21, 2015

Shy kangaroos prefer bigger groups


Female and young eastern grey kangaroo

Shyer or risk-averse female kangaroos feed in larger groups than bold or braver individuals.  Researchers hypothesize that shyer females like bigger groups because individuals in larger groups are safer from predators.

View original article

 Article originally published on Sunday, Feb 22, 2015

Kingpin responsible for killing 20 rhinos caught by authorities


Indian rhinoceros feeding on water hyacinth

Authorities have arrested the leader of a poaching gang that killed 20 Indian rhinoceros in Nepal.  Today there are over 2,500 Indian rhinos and the population is still rising.

View original article

 Article originally published on Monday, Feb 23, 2015

Small predator diversity is an important part of a healthy ecosystem


Western leopard toad

Biodiversity, including small predators such as dragonflies that attack and consume parasites may improve the health of amphibians. The study suggests that dwindling global environmental biodiversity and worldwide spikes in infectious diseases may be linked.

View original article


Slim scarlet-darter

 Article originally published on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Amur leopard population booms – to 57


Amur leopard cub

There are now at least 57 Amur leopards in Russia. These leopards are scattered across more than 36,000 hectares.

View original article

 Article originally published on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015

$7 million could save lemurs from extinction


Alaotran gentle lemur with young on back

Last year, scientists released a three year plan they said could save the world’s lemurs from world extinction and cost just $7.6 million. To facilitate this process, Lynne Venart the head of a design firm created the Lemur Conservation Network that brings together over 40 conservation groups and research institutes with the purpose of empowering the individual to support conservation.

View original article


Grey mouse-lemur

 Article originally published on Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

U.S ‘pet’ tiger trade puts big cats at great risk


Female bengal tiger with juveniles

Some tigers in the United States end up at roadside zoos, which lack the knowledge and resources to provide appropriate care. Other tigers end up in the pet trade and some are even killed illegally and their body parts sold.

View original article

 Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA



Dec 28
Photo of Maathai's longleg male holotype

Maathai’s longleg (Notogomphus maathaiae)

Species: Maathai’s longleg (Notogomphus maathaiae)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: First described in 2005, Maathai’s longleg is a clubtail dragonfly belonging to the genus Notogomphus.

More information:

Also known as Maathai’s clubtail, this dragonfly is commonly referred to as ‘longleg’ on account of its extended hind thighs. Maathai’s longleg is a fairly dark-coloured dragonfly, distinguishable thanks to the bright green markings on the sides of its thorax.

Dragonflies start their life as aquatic nymphs. They pass through a series of developmental stages and undergo several moults as they grow before metamorphosis occurs. There is no evidence to suggest that this species is seasonal. Two female Maathai’s longlegs have been observed laying eggs in water.

Maathai’s longleg has been recorded from the forests of Mount Elgon National Park, Katamayu Forest and Marioshoni Forest, Kenya. It is found from around 2,200 to 2,600 metres above sea level, in and around clear montane forested streams.

The forest habitat on which this species appears to rely has been widely destroyed in recent decades, and Maathai’s longleg is therefore presumed to have suffered significant declines. As deforestation continues, this rare dragonfly is expected to be up-listed to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List before too long.

In the densely populated Kenyan highlands, Maathai’s longleg serves as an indicator of habitat quality and is therefore being promoted as a flagship species to raise awareness of the need to protect the natural forest and watershed. Protection of its riverside forests will not only help this endangered dragonfly, but also the farmers of the foothills, by guaranteeing soil stability and a steady flow of water. To this end, dragonflies such as this species are being dubbed the ‘guardians of the watershed’ in East Africa, helping to raise their profile in the field of conservation.


Find out more about Maathai’s longleg at Enchanted Landscapes.

See images of Maathai’s longleg on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author



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