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Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ebony Jewelwing

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The gleaming, slender bodies and jet-black wings of the Ebony Jewelwing are traits to look out for when trekking near water.

Updated: 09/25/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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, which males lack. An Ebony Jewelwing can wander quite a distance inland from water sources, but is 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 make a faintly audible sound by snapping their wings together.

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

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Calopterygidae
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          Genus: Calopteryx
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            Species: maculata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Calopteryx maculata
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 39mm to 57mm (1.53" to 2.24")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, white
Descriptors: black, dragonfly, damselfly, long, spots, tip, flying

Ebony-Jewelwing-Damselfly Video(s)

A male flaps his wings and a female perches nearby.

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 39mm (1.5in) and 57mm (2.2in)
Lo: 39mm
Md: 48mm
Hi: 57mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Ebony Jewelwing may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Ebony Jewelwing. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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