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Mocha Emerald

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Somatochlora linearis

Hagen, 1861

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Corduliidae
Genus Somatochlora
Species linearis (Hagen, 1861) [Cordulia]


This distinctive species is the largest, most widespread and probably most frequently encountered of the striped emeralds in the region. It is the only one in the region lacking lateral pale yellow thoracic stripes. Its face is pale brown and the top of the head is m etallic blue. The eyes become iridescent green in older individuals. The thorax is brown and metallic green without pale stripes. The wings are clear but may be tinted amber in older individuals. The legs are black. The abdomen is dark brown with metallic reflections. Segment 2 has a large pale spot basally. Segments 3-8 have orange laterobasal spots that fade with age. The male cerci bifurcate apically and the female has a triangular-shaped ventrally-projecting ovipositor.


Total length: 56-70 mm; abdomen: 42-56 mm; hindwing: 38-50 mm.

Similar Species

The lack of lateral thoracic stripes is distinctive among the other striped emeralds.


Permanent and temporary forest streams.


This species is most often seen flying in the early morning and late afternoon high over trees. It only occasionally comes flies low to the ground. Adults perch on twigs in full shade between those times. Males patrol low to the water, at heights of 1 m or less, making frequent hovering stops. Females lay eggs unaccompanied by the male in sand or mud at the water's edge by stabbing the ovipositor into the substrate.


Eastern U.S. and Canada.