The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 187 Odonate species

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in CORDULIIDAE: Number of records added in 2020 = 1

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American Emerald (Cordulia shurtleffii) by John Petranka, Sally Gewalt
Compare with: Clamp-tipped Emerald   Mocha Emerald  
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Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for American Emerald
flight charts
distribution This is a widespread Northern species, ranging from Alaska to Newfoundland, and south to California and Virginia. There are just a few NC records, nearly all apparently from a single site in Burke County; but found in 2018 from a site in Watauga County and in 2020 from a site in Ashe County. These latter two records fill the large gap in range (formerly) from VA to Burke County.
abundance Undoubtedly very rare in NC. However, it is a common species within the majority of its range.
flight The only NC records are from 15 June to 14 July. This seems quite late, as Paulson (2011) gives a flight season of May to July for New Jersey, and May to June for Ohio. Thus, one would expect the species to occur from May at least into mid-July in NC.
habitat Still waters of lakes, ponds, or boggy areas, with marshy or damp areas surrounding the water. Favored ponds are shaded or partly shaded with much vegetation along the shoreline. All NC records appear to be from small ponds, at high elevations (mainly over 3500 feet).

See also Habitat Account for Montane Herbaceous Ponds
behavior Males "dart and hover" along shores of its ponds and boggy areas. Adults forage away from ponds along wooded margins.
comments Four individuals were collected by Duncan Cuyler in the Jonas Ridge (mountain) portion of Burke County, in 1993. Perhaps others were seen at the same time; thus, the "4" for the high count is a minimum total present that day. Perhaps surprisingly, Jim Petranka re-discovered the species in 2017, apparently at the same pond near Jonas Ridge. John Petranka visited the pond on the following day and was able to get additional photos, including a few in the hand, finding at least three individuals. In 2018, John Petranka and Sally Gewalt found and photographed the species at a small pond at Elk Knob State Park in northern Watauga County. In 2020, John Petranka along with Jim Petranka photographed two at a small pond in northwestern Ashe County. Observers should search out small ponds at high elevations, especially over 4000 feet in elevation (though this combination does limit the number of places where it could occur in the state).
state_status SR
S_rank S1
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2020-07-17 19:12:29

Photo Gallery for American Emerald   8 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka and party.

Comment: Ashe, 2020-07-14, Small high elevation pond (ca. 4,600 ft.) in northwestern Ashe County. - Males.
Photo 2 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka and party.

Comment: Ashe, 2020-07-14, Small high elevation pond (ca. 4,600 ft.) in northwestern Ashe County. - Males.
Photo 3 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Watauga, 2018-06-15, Elk Knob State Park, small marshy pond. Elevation ca. 4,400ft. - Males. Much interaction with conspecific and with Common Whitetails.
Photo 4 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Watauga, 2018-06-15, Elk Knob State Park, small marshy pond. Elevation ca. 4,400ft. - Males. Much interaction with conspecific and with Common Whitetails.
Photo 5 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Burke; M, 2017-06-21, In a small partially shaded pond that was lined with American bur-reed and other emergent vegetation; on private property just south of Jonas Ridge. - One male netted, photographed (posed) and released; other two perhaps males as well. Exhibited dart and hover behavior, typically hovering for only 1-3 seconds, making flight photos very difficult.
Photo 6 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Burke; M, 2017-06-21, In a small partially shaded pond that was lined with American bur-reed and other emergent vegetation; on private property just south of Jonas Ridge. - One male netted, photographed and released; other two perhaps males as well. Exhibited dart and hover behavior, typically hovering for only 1-3 seconds, making flight photos very difficult.
Photo 7 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Burke; M, 2017-06-21, In a small partially shaded pond that was lined with American bur-reed and other emergent vegetation; on private property just south of Jonas Ridge. - One male netted, photographed and released; other two perhaps males as well. Exhibited dart and hover behavior, typically hovering for only 1-3 seconds, making flight photos very difficult.
Photo 8 by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin

Comment: Burke; M, 2017-06-20, In a small partially shaded pond that was lined with American bur-reed and other emergent vegetation; on private property just south of Jonas Ridge. We observed three individuals. The last known observation of this species in NC was by Cuyler in 1993, possibly at the same locality.