The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
Home Page Search
LoginNC Biodiversity Project

North Carolina's 187 Odonate species

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in CORDULIIDAE: Number of records for 2019 = 7

PDF has more details,
e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
[View PDF]
Clamp-tipped Emerald (Somatochlora tenebrosa) by John Petranka
Compare with: Mocha Emerald   Treetop Emerald   Fine-lined Emerald   Ski-tipped Emerald   American 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 specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

[Google images]
mapClick on county for list of all its records for Clamp-tipped Emerald
distribution Present over most of the mountains, throughout the Piedmont, and in the northern Coastal Plain. Seemingly absent from the southern Coastal Plain counties, except in the Sandhills region; no records east of Gates, Beaufort, Harnett, and Scotland counties. Probably occurs in all mountain counties, but recorded so far only in roughly half of the counties in that province.
abundance Generally uncommon but widespread in the Piedmont, somewhat less numerous than the Mocha Emerald. Rare to uncommon in the northern Coastal Plain and the Sandhills, but rare in the mountains.
flight Primarily the summer season, to early fall; generally from late June or early July to mid-September.
habitat As with other emeralds, it breeds in small forested wetlands, such as small streams and seeps.

See also Habitat Account for General Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
behavior Males may be seen flying patrols over the small streams, more easily noticed when the streams are becoming dry. Adults typically forage away from water along wooded roads, edges, and small clearings. They perch on twigs in the shade, often higher than does the Mocha Emerald.
comments The male cerci are indeed "clamp-like" when seen from the side, rendering identification somewhat easy when seen well. Also, this species has stripes on the sides of the thorax, whereas Mocha is nearly devoid of such markings. Clamp-tipped and Mocha are the only emeralds normally seen in the Piedmont; even so, because emeralds perch in the shade, often not in conspicuous places, many persons have trouble becoming familiar with this group of dragonflies (even though members of the genus are collectively numerous in much of NC).
S_rank S4S5
G_rank G5
Species account update: LeGrand

Photo Gallery for Clamp-tipped Emerald

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-09-08, River Road, Sunny, 80s
Photo by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-08-13, Hot Springs, evening
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2019-07-13, Donnaha Paddle Access, Yadkin River @ NC 67 - female
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Watauga, 2018-09-06, Blue Ridge Parkway, wetlands near Julian Price Picnic Area. - Males.
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2013-07-26, 1 mile NW Asheville, netted in yard and imaged - Female
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2013-07-26, 1 mile NW Asheville, netted in yard and imaged - Female
Photo by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2013-07-09, Beatty Park fields - 50/50 sun/shade - 90 degrees - light wind
Photo by: R Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2011-05-28, Eno River City Park between Guess Rd and Duke St - female still with exuvia and a crimpled wing
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2010-09-17, North Buncombe co. - Leicester patch, patrolling wooded road
Photo by: R Emmitt

Comment: Emmitt Estate, 2004-07-15, female