Cordulegaster sayi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Odonata Cordulegastridae

Scientific Name: Cordulegaster sayi Selys, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Say's Spiketail
Zoraena sayi (Selys, 1854)
Taxonomic Source(s): Schorr, M. and Paulson, D. 2013. World Odonata List. Tacoma, Washington, USA Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2016-05-05
Assessor(s): Paulson, D.R.
Reviewer(s): Tennessen, K.
Contributor(s): Abbott, J.C.
Bick (1983) ranked Cordulegaster sayi as Endangered but downgraded it to Rare (Bick 2003). However, much has been learned about it since then. Its habitat is more specialized and vulnerable than some other coexisting stream odonates, a specific combination of adjacent habitats needed for larvae and adults, respectively. Probably there are hundreds of larvae per site, but relatively few are mature, as the larval stage probably lasts four years. Area of occupancy may be <2,000 km², but extent of occurrence is >75,000 km2. There are numerous thriving populations, so a newer assessment has led to a classification of Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This southeastern United States species is restricted to southern (mostly southeastern) Georgia and northern Florida. Records are at hand from one county in Alabama (S. Krotzer pers. comm.), 15 counties in Georgia, and 14 counties in Florida. The southeastern Georgia individuals may be part of the same metapopulation as those in northeastern Florida, but there is a substantial gap between those populations and the ones in the Florida Panhandle. Surveying has not been intensive in that gap, however.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Current population size is unknown, but a large number of apparently thriving populations are known, some of them historic and many of them recently discovered. Populations have disappeared from only a few sites with historic records, usually from easily apparent disturbances.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Cordulegaster sayi occurs at small mucky seeps in woodland, associated with bay swamps in hardwood bluffs. Usually adjacent to open longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) flatwoods used for foraging; turkey oak (Quercus laevis) is typically present. Keppner (2015) described the habitat as muck areas that form along perennial ravine seepage/steephead streams, and a secondary habitat as perennial hillside seeps with baygall community and small areas of baygall present along the same kind of streams embedded in the overall upland sandhill community. The pools of muck serving as larval habitat have a very slow and shallow flow of water over the surface and need to be perennial to support the 3-4 year life cycle of the larvae.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Housing and urban development represent threats to C. sayi, and logging of the uplands adjacent to its breeding seeps decreases foraging habitat. Foraging by wild pigs mostly destroyed one larval site, and this is always a potential threat in the Southeast. Furthermore, the seeps are so shallow that drought (increasingly likely from global climate change) and drainage (from a deep well dug at one site on private property) threaten them more than many other types of wetlands. Nevertheless, none of these threats have been in evidence at most known sites.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Florida the species occurs in many protected localities, including federal and state forests, a state preserve, county parks, a military base, and numerous parcels of private land. In Georgia it occurs in a state park and a military reservation, and at least one site is protected on private land.

Citation: Paulson, D.R. 2018. Cordulegaster sayi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T59707A80694325. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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