New York Natural Heritage Program
Incurvate Emerald
Somatochlora incurvata Walker, 1918

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Incurvate Emeralds have bright emerald green eyes when mature. Males have a dark thorax with metallic green iridescence and two lateral spots fading with age (anterior spot is more elongate and posterior spot is shorter and more rounded). Their abdomens are brownish to black and long and slender. There are dull orange-brown lateral spots on abdominal segments 3-8. The male cerci (terminal appendages) are distinctive from other Somatochlora and are strongly curved inward at tips from the dorsal view. Females are similar to males, but have a thicker abdomen and a yellowish ovipositor that is large and scoop-shaped (Nikula et al. 2003, Jones et al. 2008, Paulson 2011).

Behavior [-]
Boreal Somatochlora nymphs take at least 4 years to develop and they occupy shallow water meadows, sedge-filled pools, and sedge-filled shallows of small ponds. During this time, they are drought resistant and can survive dry conditions for up to 4-9 months through certain physiological adaptations and by actively burrowing in mud and seeking out sheltered locations in moss, cracks in mud, crevices in rotting logs, and sedge root clumps (Wiley & Eiler 1972). Adult males fly low and erratically over vegetation and occasionally perch on tree branches or hover over open pools.

Diet [-]
Incurvate Emerald larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Incurvate Emerald Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Incurvate Emerald adults have been found in New York from July through August (Donnelly 1999, New York Natural Heritage Program 2017). They could possibly be observed later in the season, given flight dates in nearby states and provinces (Paulson 2011).
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Incurvate Emerald present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Kennedy's Emerald (Somatochlora kennedyi)
    Kennedy's Emerald is less dull in appearance and Incurvate males have cerci that are more forcep-like than Kennedy's from a lateral view (Paulson 2011).
  • Forcipate Emerald (Somatochlora forcipata)
    Incurvate Emeralds are also larger and duller than Forcipate Emeralds. The male cerci and female ovipositor are also distinctive and help to separate the species. The cerci arch downward on Forcipate Emeralds. Forcipate Emeralds are smaller with two round yellow spots on the thorax (Jones et al. 2008).