Dragonfly, Hine's Emerald

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Dragonfly, Hine's emerald

Somatochlora hineana

phylum: Arthropoda

class: Insecta

order: Odonata

family: Corduliidae

status: Endangered, IUCN Endangered, ESA

range: USA (Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin)

Description and biology

The Hine's emerald dragonfly, also known as the Ohio emerald dragonfly, is a fairly large dragonfly. It has a yellow labrum (pronounced LAY-brum; upper part of the mouth), metallic green frons (front of the head capsule), and black leg segments. On its dark thorax (body segment between the head and abdomen) are two yellow stripes. The second of these stripes is slightly wider and shorter than the first.

Biologists (people who study living organisms) have very little information about this insect's feeding and breeding habits.

Habitat and current distribution

In 1997, the Hine's emerald dragonfly was discovered in three separate locations in Mackinac County in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Prior to this discovery, the dragonfly

had been sighted at two sites in Illinois and six sites in Wisconsin.

This dragonfly prefers to inhabit bogs, which are areas of wet spongy ground composed chiefly of peat (soil made up mainly of decaying plant matter). In Michigan, this dragonfly was found inhabiting fen meadows, low-lying grassy areas covered wholly or partially with water.

History and conservation measures

The Hine's emerald dragonfly was originally discovered in Ohio, where it inhabited Logan, Lucas, and Williams counties in the northwestern part of the state. It was also known to inhabit northwest Indiana's Lake County. Biologists have not collected specimens from any of these areas since 1953, and they now believe the dragonfly has disappeared completely from this former range.

Habitat destruction is the primary cause for the decline of this species. Wetlands throughout the dragonfly's former range were drained to create urban and commercial areas. The draining of wetlands remains a major threat to the Hine's emerald dragonfly.


Dragonflies are ancient insects, dating back before the beginning of the reign of the dinosaurs some 225 million years ago. Other than being smaller, present-day dragonflies do not differ very much from their ancestors. In fact, modern dragonflies are descendants of the very first winged insects, which were unable to flex their wings flat over their backs. Because of this, dragonflies are grouped in the subclass Paleoptera, meaning "with ancient wings."