Minnesota Dragonfly

Racket-tailed Emerald

Dorocordulia libera

The Racket-tailed Emerald is a small dark dragonfly with bright metallic green eyes and an obvious clubbed abdomen. They are very common and not that wary of people. Feeding swarms of Racket-tails will often fly around humans, eating the insects that are attracted by the people


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.1 to 1.6 inches
  • Dark face with metallic green tint and a lot of hairs on the frons
  • Bight metallic green eyes
  • Thorax is brown-bronze and metallic green with no yellow stripes
  • Black legs
  • No cross vein in the forewing triangle
  • Dark abdomen with yellow ring encircling where segments 2 and 3 join and yellow patches on the underside of segments 2 and 3
  • End of abdomen widely clubbed, like a racket

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Yellow patches on segment 3 are brighter and extend higher on female than they do on the males, on the females it is visible when looking at them from above
  • Female less clubbing in the end of the abdomen than on the males
  • Subgenital plates rounded, extending about one third the length of segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Often found away from the water foraging around roads, paths and forest openings. Racket-tails will often swarm around humans to hunt insects that are attracted to people. They perch more often than other species of emeralds often perching on leaves, logs, rocks or the ground


Lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams usually with marshy or boggy shorelines


Females lay eggs by dipping abdomen into open water or near floating 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.