Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Ebony Jewelwing

Calopteryx maculata

Beauvois, 1805

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The Ebony Jewelwing is a widespread, common and yet spectacular damselfly. The male is a metallic green with blue reflections and all-black wings. Flight is generally slow and fluttery, similar to a butterfly. Both sexes open their wings, then snap them closed. The female is a dark green, not as showy as the male. Its wide, nearly uniformly smoky wings have white stigmas. It is similar to the female River Jewelwing, but the body is darker and the wings are proportionally wider. Unlike River Jewelwings, female Ebony Jewelwings do not become submerged while ovipositing.

This is an eastern species reaching its western and northernlimits just past Nebraska. It is present in a large variety ofsmall streams from sandy to mud and open to heavily-shaded, but isabsent from larger streams and rivers. It is one of the first species to fly in the morning, when it can be found sitting onbank vegetation in full sun. It is also active later and in poorerweather than most damselflies.

Ebony Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing pair in "wheel"
Ebony Jewelwing map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.


Size: 39-57mm (1.5-2.2 in)

Habitat: small shady streams, often in forests

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, CO, MO, IA, MN

Flight season: late May to mid September



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