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Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Ebony Jewelwing, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/25/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Ebony Jewelwing  
Picture of Ebony-Jewelwing-Damselfly
Picture of Ebony-Jewelwing-Damselfly Picture of Ebony-Jewelwing-Damselfly

Metallic, slender bodies and jet-black wings make the male and female Ebony Jewelwing a special sight for those trekking near water.

Damselfies are smaller than dragonflies and have thinner bodies. They hang out in the same environment, however. Ebony Jewelwings have shiny, metallic blue-green bodies. The wings, slightly shorter than the abdomen, are a rich, matte black color. Females have a small, bright white oval at the tip of all four of their wings that the males lack. They can wander quite a distance from water sources, but are more likely to be spotted at the bank of a marsh, pond, lake or stream. Males are highly territorial, circling intruders to protect their real estate. Males and females of this species of Damselfly communicate to each other using their wings. They can produce a small sound by snapping their wings together.

The male flies on the back of a female it is mating with to guard her from other males while she lays fertilized eggs in the stems of aquatic plants. The naiads (hatched young) do not look like Damselflies, but more like insects. They eat insects that live or fall into the water including beetles, fleas, and small crustaceans. They will leave the water when they have grown and developed enough to molt into a winged adult on land.

Picture of the Ebony Jewelwing
Picture of the Ebony Jewelwing

Ebony Jewelwing Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Ebony Jewelwing
Scientific Name: Calopteryx maculata

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Odonata
     Arrow graphic Family: Calopterygidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Calopteryx
       Arrow graphic Species: maculata

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 39 mm to 57 mm (1.521 inches to 2.223 inches)
Identifying Colors: black, white
Additional Descriptors: black, dragonfly, damselfly, long, spots, tip, flying

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Manitoba; Saskatchewan; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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