Minnesota Dragonfly

Delicate Emerald

Somatochlora franklini

The Delicate Emerald is a very slender Somatochlora, striped Emerald, with small brown patches at the base of the wings. This is the only Somatochlora with this type of wing patterns in Minnesota or Wisconsin, although there are other species with similar markings in northern Canada

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Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.7 to 2.0 inches
  • Dark metallic green face with yellow sides and bright emerald eyes
  • Thorax brown and metallic green with a single pale oval dot on the side that fades with age
  • Pale ring separates abdominal segments 2 and 3
  • Wings are short compared to other Somatochlora with a small brown patch at the base
  • Long, slender black abdomen, which is about one and a half times as long as a wing
  • Small brownish-yellow side spots on abdomen
  • Forceps style claspers that angle inwards. Tips approach but do not touch
  • Cerci angle down and come to a point

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Females eyes are red, turning bright emerald after maturity
  • Wings may turn yellowish brown with age
  • Terminal appendages are straight and longer than segments 9 and 10 combined
  • The subgenital plate is yellow and scoop shaped. It hangs horizontally is about as long as segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Not usually found close to open water Delicate Emerald males patrol 3 to 4 feet over grasses, sedges and brush, often stopping to hover. They frequently join mixed species swarms to hunt flying insects over roads, trails, and other open edges. This is a rare species in Minnesota and Wisconsin


Spring-fed mossy and sedge-filled fens.


Females lay eggs by dipping their abdomen at an angle into wet moss or tiny pools, often filled with vegetation

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.