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For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
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Incurvate Emerald (Somatochlora incurvata)



Warpaint emerald (Somatochlora incurvata), a State Endangered dragonfly, occurs has been found in spring-fed bogs, poor fens, and heaths. Wisconsin larval habitat is central poor fens with sphagnum moss. The flight period extends from mid July through late August.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Incurvate Emerald (Somatochlora incurvata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Somatochlora incurvata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication PUB-ER-085-99 (now out-of-print).

Identification: Adults are 49-50 mm with the abdomen being 38-47 mm and the hind wing being 31-37 mm long. Face is very dark, with a shiny black labrum (upper or front lip), yellow ante-clypeus (front shield-like process on the anterior portion of the head) and brown post-clypeus (back shield-like process on the anterior portion of the head) with lower yellow border. The frons is shiny metallic green, with a cinnamon brown band, and a yellow band below that. The thorax is thinly clad with long whitish hairs, and brown in front, with green reflections. Wings have brown tinge, but more deeply in the females. The abdomen is brown. The larva of this species has only recently been discovered and is in the process of being described.

Habitat: Breeding confirmed in only a few wetland sites. Habitats include sphagnum pools 10-40 cm deep in Carex oligosperma dominated poor fens with broad leaved sedges, probably Carex rostrata and others, wire-leaved sedges and occasional spike rushes (one site). Carex oligosperma is present at all sites. The pH one pool where larvae were collected was 5.6. Wisconsin habitats are in large wetland complexes on a glacial lake bed, often adjacent to sandy uplands (old beach ridges) consisting of jackpine, red pine, and northern pin oak. Larvae are found clinging to the underside of sphagnum mounds at pool edges, in partially decomposed, dark brown sphagnum and sedges that camouflages the larval body color. Two larvae were collected in a pool surrounded by sedges only, with no Sphagnum, but Sphagnum was present at all other sites. Other species that are found in the same pools with S. incurvata include Libellula quadrimaculata and Aeshna verticalis. Larvae that are found in the same wetlands include the rare Williamsonia fletcheri.

State Distribution: Occurs in the bed of former Glacial Lake Wisconsin in eastern Jackson and western Adams Counties.

Phenology: Larvae live in sites which may have very little water and may be specially adapted to seasonal drought situations. Egg laying was noted in very little water, in one case in the water filled depression left by a footstep in sphagnum moss. Breeding behavior of the adults is typical for the genus.

Management Guidelines: See the Somatochlora discussion section.



Incurvate Emerald

Male Incurvate Emerald.

Photo © Andy Paulios.

Incurvate Emerald

Male Incurvate Emerald.

Photo © Andy Paulios.

Incurvate Emerald

Female Incurvate Emerald.

Photo © Andy Paulios.

Incurvate Emerald

Female Incurvate Emerald.

Photo © Andy Paulios.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Incurvate Emerald. Only natural communities for which Incurvate Emerald is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Central Poor Fen 3
Patterned Peatland 3
Muskeg 2
Open Bog 2
Poor Fen 2

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Incurvate Emerald. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Incurvate Emerald occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Tuesday, May 21, 2019