Species Profile

Olive Clubtail

Scientific Name: Stylurus olivaceus
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2011
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

This highly rare, stream-dwelling dragonfly with striking blue eyes is known from only 5 locations within three separate regions of British Columbia. It is restricted to small areas along warm lowland rivers, and infrequently lakes, where continuing decline in the quality of habitat is occurring. Threats include loss and disturbance of habitat due to human activity, such as beach recreation, impacts of invasive species of fish, invasive aquatic plants, and pollution by pesticides and fertilizing nutrients.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2017-02-03

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

The Olive Clubtail is a dragonfly in the clubtail family. Adults are 56-60 mm long, have widely separated eyes and the tip of the abdomen, especially in males, is swollen; the wings are clear. The thorax is grey-green with broad, brown shoulder stripes and the black abdomen bears a yellow mark on the top of each segment and has yellow on the sides. The elongate larvae are distinguished by vestigial burrowing hooks on the tibiae (middle of front legs). All larval records of the Olive Clubtail in Canada are of exuviae (singular “exuvia”), the cast exoskeletons of the final larval stage, left on the shore after adult emergence. The Olive Clubtail is the only representative of the genus Stylurus in British Columbia. Few odonates (damselflies and dragonflies) in British Columbia develop in streams; this species may prove to be a good indicator of stream ecosystem health for warm, mesotrophic lowland rivers – a scarce habitat in the province. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2011]

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Distribution and Population

The Olive Clubtail lives in scattered populations across western North America from south-central British Columbia south through the interior of Washington and Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and California. There are five locations in three separate regions in British Columbia and Canada – South Thompson River, Christina Creek and the Okanagan Valley (including three locations). Based on substantial search effort, it is a rare species throughout its Canadian range. Populations in British Columbia are not known well enough to provide good size estimates. The data set used in this report consists of 31 specimens and 26 sight records; each record may relate to more than one individual. Specimens total 18 adults and 69 larval exuviae. Speculative estimates for the whole Canadian population are: Christina Creek –

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Habitat

Larvae burrow in the bottom of mud- or sand-bottomed rivers or streams, rarely along lakeshores. The rivers can be as large as the lower Columbia River below Portland, Oregon and the streams may be as small as the 10 m-wide Christina Creek. Because the habitat requirements of the larvae are imprecisely known, it is difficult to determine whether there has been a decline in quality and quantity of habitat. Most of the Canadian length of the Okanagan River was channeled in the 1950s; presumably this has reduced both quantity and quality of habitat. The South Thompson River is relatively natural, except for agricultural, transportation and housing developments along some stretches. Christina Creek remains mostly in a natural state. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2011]

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Biology

The larvae of Olive Clubtails are aquatic predators, living for about two years in the bottom sediments of streams or lakes until emerging as adults. They eat bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Adults, like other dragonflies, consume a great variety of small, flying insects. In British Columbia, adults fly from mid-July to mid-October. Males fly over open water, as opposed to along the shore. Females lay eggs on the water surface. Adults rest in riparian perennials, shrubs and trees; sometimes they perch on the ground. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2011]

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Threats

Much of the Olive Clubtail’s habitat in the south Okanagan has been altered by river channeling. Urban, residential, transportation and marina developments; pollution from power boats; and disturbance at popular swimming beaches all have potential impact on larval survival. Introduced fish have altered the ecology of the Okanagan and Christina watersheds and are major predators of odonate larvae. Both watersheds have also been invaded by Eurasian Milfoil, an aggressive aquatic weed that changes aquatic environments. Pollutants may come from land development, agricultural practices, storm water runoff, sewage systems, forestry and range activities, and other sources. Pesticides are a potential problem in the South Okanagan, as the Okanagan River flows through many orchard and vineyard lands. Eutrophication resulting from agricultural runoff and sewage is a worry in the Okanagan and along the Thompson River, although major nutrient from sewage have been reduced dramatically through tertiary treatment of sewage, which was implemented in all major centres in the 1980s.[Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2011]

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Olive Clubtail is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus) in Canada
Status First posting on SAR registry

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Olive Clubtail Stylurus olivaceus in Canada (2011-09-09)

    The Olive Clubtail is a dragonfly in the clubtail family. Adults are 56-60 mm long, have widely separated eyes and the tip of the abdomen, especially in males, is swollen; the wings are clear. The thorax is grey-green with broad, brown shoulder stripes and the black abdomen bears a yellow mark on the top of each segment and has yellow on the sides. The elongate larvae are distinguished by vestigial burrowing hooks on the tibiae (middle of front legs). All larval records of the Olive Clubtail in Canada are of exuviae (singular “exuvia”), the cast exoskeletons of the final larval stage, left on the shore after adult emergence.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Olive Clubtail (2011-12-08)

    This highly rare, stream-dwelling dragonfly with striking blue eyes is known from only 5 locations within three separate regions of British Columbia. It is restricted to small areas along warm lowland rivers, and infrequently lakes, where continuing decline in the quality of habitat is occurring. Threats include loss and disturbance of habitat due to human activity, such as beach recreation, impacts of invasive species of fish, invasive aquatic plants, and pollution by pesticides and fertilizing nutrients.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus) in Canada (2021-11-17)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister for the Olive Clubtail and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery strategy for the Olive Clubtail (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the 60-day public comment period on the proposed Recovery Strategy for the Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus) in Canada has been extended to 90 days to provide sufficient time for feedback.

Orders

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2011 (2011-12-08)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 8, 2012 for species undergoing normal consultations and by November 8, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Related Information

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) Listing Plan 2016 to 2018 (2017-09-29)

    The status of wildlife species is assessed by an independent panel of expert Canadian scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 149 terrestrial species were assessed as at-risk by COSEWIC between 2009 and 2016 and are eligible for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to be considered by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment: 86 species would be new additions, 54 currently listed species would be reclassified and 9 species would be updated to reflect changes in their recognized designatable units. A three-year listing plan has been developed to address all 149 terrestrial species and listing decisions for most species are anticipated by the end of 2018. Making amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA is a two-step process. The first step is for the GIC to propose an amendment through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The second step is for the GIC to make a final decision on whether or not to make amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA, taking into consideration comments received during the 30-day public comment period. The amendments are made through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Both orders are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) which presents the implications of listing the species or changing their status. Publishing this plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency about the Government of Canada’s plan to make listing decisions under the Species at Risk Act. NOTE: The information presented below is intended to provide openness and transparency with respect to when terrestrial species might be considered for listing under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is intended to assist anyone who may wish to provide comments on such listing considerations. Given any number of factors can affect the timing of a listing decision; the Plan is subject to change. Accordingly, the Plan will be periodically updated.
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