Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Somatochlora cingulata  (Selys, 1871)
Lake 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: S2S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

One of the largest striped emeralds, the lake emerald's length varies from 2.2 to 2.7 inches long. The thorax is brown with possible small yellowish stripes. The hairs on the thorax are longer than other emeralds. The abdomen is black with narrow white rings between all segments.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Ranging through southern Canada and northeastern United States, the lake emerald can be found at boggy lakes, lakes, ponds, and sometimes large rivers. In Wisconsin, it is known from just a few lakes in northern counties.

Flight Season:

Throughout its range, the typical flight season is from mid-June to early September.

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.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male lake emerald
Male lake emerald. © Dennis Paulson

Photo of Female lake emerald
Female lake emerald. © June Tveekrem

Photo of Female lake emerald
Female lake emerald. © June Tveekrem

Photo of Female lake emerald
Female lake emerald. © June Tveekrem

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