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

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in CORDULIIDAE: Number of records for 2024 = 0
Added in 2024 from a previous years = 3

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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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.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Clamp-tipped Emerald
Flight Charts
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 formerly uncommon) in the northern Coastal Plain and the Sandhills, as well as in the mountains. Alarmingly, we have no recent records at all from the Coastal Plain; has it declined there in recent decades? However, there are very few recent observers and reports of any odonate species from much of this large area (northwestern half of the Coastal Plain), and thus trends are not certain.
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 Wet-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).
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 11:52:17

Photo Gallery for Clamp-tipped Emerald   18 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Burke; M, 2023-09-03, Hawksbill Mountain (near summit). - Male and female, actively chasing each other around.
Photo 2 by: Aaron A Edmonds

Comment: Lee, 2023-08-09, - Found with in the vicinity of the Matthews Smith Cemetery Broadway, NC. Specimen appeared damaged, perceived to have been struck by a car.
Photo 3 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Watauga, 2022-08-28, - Netted and released. Females. Julian Price Park
Photo 4 by: Jason Love

Comment: Macon, 2022-08-14, 2450 Middle Creek Rd., Otto, NC. iNaturalist record #130843008 - Female
Photo 5 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2021-08-24, Feeding swarm over field off Orrell Road
Photo 6 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2021-08-24, Feeding swarm over field off Orrell Road
Photo 7 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-07-28, Hot Springs area - one road kill, one by sight
Photo 8 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-07-26
Photo 9 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-09-08, River Road, Sunny, 80s
Photo 10 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-08-13, Hot Springs, evening
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2019-07-13, Donnaha Paddle Access, Yadkin River @ NC 67 - female
Photo 12 by: John Petranka

Comment: Watauga, 2018-09-06, Blue Ridge Parkway, wetlands near Julian Price Picnic Area. - Males.
Photo 13 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2013-07-26, 1 mile NW of Asheville, netted in yard and imaged - Female
Photo 14 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2013-07-26, 1 mile NW of Asheville, netted in yard and imaged - Female
Photo 15 by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2013-07-09, Beatty Park fields - 50/50 sun/shade - 90 degrees - light wind
Photo 16 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 17 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2010-09-17, northern Buncombe Co. - Leicester patch, patrolling wooded road
Photo 18 by: R Emmitt

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