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 for 2019 = 0

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Treetop Emerald (Somatochlora provocans) by Nancy Williamson
Compare with: Mocha Emerald   Clamp-tipped Emerald   Fine-lined Emerald  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply to both sexes. Female depicted here.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Treetop Emerald
distribution Strictly in the western and central Coastal Plain, though possibly in the extreme eastern Piedmont (along the Fall Line). Ranges east only to Chowan, Washington, Beaufort, and Bladen counties; and west to Wake, Lee, Moore, and Richmond counties.
abundance Difficult to assess because of its high-flying habits. All references consider it to be a scarce, though not necessarily rare, species. Based on the fact that it has been recorded in NC from 21 counties, it certainly isn't overly rare. Best considered as uncommon and very easily overlooked, within its narrow range in the state.
flight The flight apparently occurs between early June and late August, though we only have one record before July, and this June record came in 2017.
habitat Small forested seeps and pools, perhaps very small streams.

See also Habitat Account for General Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
behavior As the common name implies, this emerald is normally seen in flight, typically over head-height to treetop height, along and over forested roads and clearings. Adults normally perch high on twigs of canopy trees.
comments This species is most likely one in which a net is required to verify records. An observer may often see high-flying dragonflies during the summer months along forested roads, especially near swamps and other wetlands. Perhaps a moderate number of these (at least in the Coastal Plain) are Treetop Emeralds, but this is only speculation. Getting a good photograph of a Treetop Emerald in a natural pose requires either much luck, much patience, or a strong telephoto lens! Interestingly, our only two records documented with photos are from the same site -- Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, 12 years apart!
state_status W
S_rank S3?
fed_status
G_rank G4
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand

Photo Gallery for Treetop Emerald

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: N. Williamson

Comment: Moore; C, 2017-06-07, WEWO
Photo by: N. Williamson

Comment: Moore; C, 2017-06-07, WEWO - ID confirmed on bugguide
Photo by: ASH

Comment: Moore; C, 2005-07-04, female, exposure on photos is too hot. They don't do the bug justice - very beautiful intricate markings on abdomen and first segments.
Photo by: ASH

Comment: Moore; C, 2005-07-04, female, exposure on photos is too hot. They don't do the bug justice - very beautiful intricate markings on abdomen and first segments.