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 2023 = 1

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Fine-lined Emerald (Somatochlora filosa) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Mocha Emerald   Clamp-tipped Emerald   Treetop Emerald  
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Note: identification tips depicted for mature males and females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Fine-lined Emerald
Flight Charts
Distribution Throughout the Coastal Plain, with records for nearly every county in the province, even along the coast. Occurs along the Fall Line in the extreme eastern Piedmont, and there is a collection record from far inland Burke County (mis-identified?).
Abundance Fairly common and widespread in much of the Coastal Plain; probably uncommon in some areas closer to the Piedmont. It is one of the few dragonflies that is more numerous in the lower Coastal Plain than in the upper part of this province. It is very rare in the eastern Piedmont. According to Roble and Cuyler (1998), "Cuyler found that this species is common and widespread in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, including the Dismal Swamp area."
Flight Late June to mid-November, being one of the few dragonflies whose main flight is the fall season, where it often peaks in September or even into October. Interestingly, the three records from the Piedmont/foothills are from late July to late August, and not in the fall season at all.
Habitat Both Dunkle (2000) and Beaton (2007) indicate that the breeding habitat is unknown, but suggest swamps, seeps, and other slow-moving waters in forested areas. This seems correct for NC, as it is often found near forested, swampy habitats, as opposed to flowing waters of riverine/creekside habitats or wide open waters of lakes and ponds.
Behavior As with most emeralds, adults forage widely away from water, such as along forest edges and along roads and wide trails. They often fly quite high (over 10-20 feet), but occasionally they can be observed as they perch on a twig, at times within a few feet of the ground.
Comments This species can be numerous in the fall season near swampy woodlands and forested margins near wetlands, though finding one perched within easy viewing or photographing can be a challenge. Often the best way to see one is to net the dragonfly as it flies by, frequently over one's head. The "fine lines" on the side of the thorax, which give the species its common name, are not easily seen. Most other emeralds have more distinct thorax stripes/lines, whereas the numerous Mocha Emerald is solid-colored on the sides of the thorax.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 11:41:13

Photo Gallery for Fine-lined Emerald   16 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Audrey Whitlock

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2023-09-17, Alligator River NWR; iNaturalist Record #184440764
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Hoke, 2020-10-18, Sandhills Game Land - male
Photo 3 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Craven, 2018-09-01, Croatan National Forest, powerline ROW at intersection of Catfish Lake Rd. and Little Rd.
Photo 4 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt.

Comment: Craven, 2017-10-24, Flanners Beach Campground, Croatan National Forest. - Female. Netted, photographed and released.
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2017-09-19, Holly Shelter Game Land - several feeding swarms over Lodge Road
Photo 6 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-09-10, my property, Holly Ridge
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Columbus, 2016-09-25, Lumber River, between Boardman Boating Access and Piney Island Campsite
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2016-09-24, feeding swarm over my yard at dusk, Holly Ridge
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-08-13, along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 10 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-07-20, Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point - Shrubby mesic pine flatwoods
Photo 11 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-07-20, Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point - Shrubby mesic pine flatwoods
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2015-09-15, along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2015-09-04, Holly Ridge; flying back and forth over my yard
Photo 14 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2015-07-28, - Single female netted/photographed in field next door, seen flying with Mocha Emeralds, Swamp Darners, and Common Green Darners
Photo 15 by: E. Corey, A. Davis, R. Anderson

Comment: Bladen, 2008-10-02, Singletary Lake State Park - Found in large araneid webbing, spider had already envenomated her when we got to her. Collected and photographed. - female
Photo 16 by: R Emmitt

Comment: Croatan National Forest