The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Related Species in CORDULIIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 0

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Ski-tipped Emerald (Somatochlora elongata) by Ed Corey
Compare with: Clamp-tipped 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.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Ski-tipped Emerald
Flight Charts
Distribution Strictly the mountains (and perhaps along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in Piedmont counties). Known from just nine counties in NC (with Madison County added in 2021). The great majority of emeralds (genus Somatochlora) are Northern species, ranging south only to the mid-Atlantic states, and the Ski-tipped's range extends farther south than many of these, to northern GA.
Abundance Rare to possibly uncommon in the northern mountains, but rare south of Avery and Burke counties. Considered to be "common" over its range by Dunkle (2000), but clearly it is a scarce species here near the southern end of its range.
Flight Mid-June to the end of August; one record in mid-September.
Habitat Slow-flowing streams, outlets of lakes and ponds, beaver ponds, bogs, etc., typically in open or partly open sites. In NC, favors open wetland sites at fairly high elevations (mainly over 3500 feet). Most records are from high-quality sites/natural areas.
Behavior Males patrol territories over water about 1-2 feet high. However, in normal feeding, the adults often forage high, sometimes in shade.
Comments This is not an overly rare species in the northern mountain counties of NC. A handful of recent records have been made in the state, many documented with photos. As with many emeralds, the various species in the state can look very similar in flight, and observers and photographers must wait until they perch to be sure of the identification. Thankfully, most of the other emeralds in the state occur at lower elevations and often in somewhat more wooded settings than is this northern species.
State Rank S2
State Status SR
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name Ski-tailed Emerald
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 11:36:54

Photo Gallery for Ski-tipped Emerald   14 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Claire Herzog

Comment: Transylvania, 2023-08-17, At a private pond near Rosman, jct. of Fjord and Indian Springs Roads; iNaturalist Record #178887960 - Male; may have seen a female ovipositing
Photo 2 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Watauga, 2022-08-28, - Female netted and released. Julian Price Park.
Photo 3 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Watauga, 2022-08-28, - Female netted and released. Julian Price Park.
Photo 4 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-08-11, Max Patch Pond
Photo 5 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Watauga, 2018-06-15, Elk Knob State Park, small marshy pond. Elevation ca. 4,400 ft. - Female. Managed to fly to perch with right hind wing not expanded fully.
Photo 6 by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin

Comment: Haywood, 2016-07-20, In a small pool within a high-elevation bog complex near the upper end of Flat Laurel Creek Trail. - At 5400 feet in elevation.
Photo 7 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Watauga, 2015-07-01, Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Park
Photo 8 by: Harry LeGrand

Comment: Watauga, 2012-06-20
Photo 9 by: Chelsea Rath

Comment: Burke; M, 2011-07-28, Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo 10 by: E. Corey

Comment: Avery, 2009-07-23, Pineola Bog - males
Photo 11 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2006-07-09
Photo 12 by: Bruce Grimes

Comment: Watauga, 2001-08-11, Julian Price Park
Photo 13 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: 2006-07-09, Ashe County, teneral female
Photo 14 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: 2006-07-09, Ashe County, teneral female