Mocha Emerald dragonflies: denizens of the dark

Mocha Emerald dragonflies (Somatochlora linearis) seem to prefer shady spots, unlike most odonates, so be sure to bring a flash-equipped camera when you hunt Mochas. And be sure to wear your Bug Shirt and Pants — mosquitos like shady spots too!

The following photographs feature two of several Mocha Emeralds spotted while I explored a small stream at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park on 07 July 2014.

The first individual is a male, based upon its terminal appendages.

Emerald dragonfly, probably a Mocha Emerald (Somatochlora linearis)

Photo 1. Mocha Emerald dragonfly (male).

Photos 2 and 3 show another male Mocha, as indicated by its terminal appendages and the “indentations” on its hind wings (near the body).

Emerald dragonfly, probably a Mocha Emerald (Somatochlora linearis)

Photo 2. Mocha Emerald dragonfly (male).

Emerald dragonfly, probably a Mocha Emerald (Somatochlora linearis)

Photo 3. Mocha Emerald dragonfly (male).

Hind wing venation and shape can identify the sex of most dragonflies. Petaltails, darners (except Anax), clubtails, spiketails, cruisers, and some emeralds. With the striped emeralds (Somatochlora) the shape of the hind wing does differ between the sexes. Source Credit: Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast.

Contrast the “indented” shape of a male Mocha hind wing (see Photo 3) with the rounded shape of a female Mocha hind wing, shown below.

Ed-Lam_Mocha-Emerald-dragonfly-female-hind-wing

Image showing rounded shape of female Mocha hind wing (near the body).

Editor’s Note: The preceding image used with permission from Ed Lam.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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