Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Somatochlora tenebrosa  (Say, 1839)
Clamp-tipped Emerald

Corduliidae, Emerald Family
"Most Wanted" Species

The medium-sized, dark brown striped emeralds have some pale markings on the thorax and abdomen, black legs, clear wings and brilliant green eyes. The thorax has a metallic bronze-green sheen and the abdomen is dark metallic black-green. Most species are uncommonly seen, but this may be largely due to their secretive nature. When flying, most species look alike which is why in-hand identifications of their anatomical features are often needed.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S1S2    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The males are unique with a circular gap of appendages seen in side view at end of abdomen. The thorax has 2 yellow lateral stripes, which fade with age. The abdomen is all brown. The face varies in coloration from yellow to brown. Most of the females' wings become tinted brown with age. The body varies from 1.9 to 2.5 inches in length.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found throughout eastern United States and southeast Canada, this species prefers shady forest waters, from trickles to streams, occasionally boggy and often partly dry. In Wisconsin, it is known from only a few sites in the central part of the state.

Flight Season:

In northern part of its range, the flight season is from late June to early September. The peak of the flight season, in Wisconsin, probably occurs in July.

Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
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