New York Natural Heritage Program
Ebony Boghaunter
Williamsonia fletcheri Williamson, 1923
Insects

General Description [-]
This small (3.0 cm) all black emerald often has some yellow or whitish markings on the thorax and abdomen. White rings separate abdominal segments 2-4. Male eyes become brilliant green with age. The sexes are similar.

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
This is a very small, nearly all black emerald, with a metallic face and green eyes that often looks and behaves more like a Whiteface (Leucorrhinia).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Adults.

Behavior [-]
Males are often seen perching adjacent to the wetland on the ground in small sunlit openings, such as trails. Eggs are laid exophytically (outside plant tissues) and the larvae live within saturated strands of moss.

Diet [-]
The larvae are generalist predators, while the adults feed on small flying insects.
The Best Time to See
The flight season of this inconspicuous species is brief and early with the few New York records falling within about a month and a half, between May 11 to June 23.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find Ebony Boghaunter reproducing (blue shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae)
    This species flies in the late summer, not May-June.
  • Frosted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia frigida)
    Many Whitefaces (Leucorrhinia) are similar to Boghaunters, but have a pale whitish face as opposed to the metallic face and green eyes in Williamsonia.