Somatochlora hineana
Hine's emerald dragonfly
Image of Somatochlora hineana

Photo by William A. Smith 

More Images

Key Characteristics

Hine’s emerald adults, like other members of its family, have brilliant green eyes. Somatochlora hineana can be distinguished from all other species of Somatochlora by a combination of its dark metallic green thorax with two distinct creamy-yellow lateral lines and its distinctively shaped terminal appendages or genitalia. Adults have a body length of 2.3-2.5 inches (60-65 mm) and a wingspan of 3.5-3.7 inches (90- 95 mm).

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • US Status: LE
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G2G3


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Presque Isle12004
Distribution map for Somatochlora hineana

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Important habitat characteristics of Hine’s emerald sites include graminoid dominated wetlands which contain seeps, or slow moving rivulets; cool, shallow water slowly flowing through vegetation; and open areas in close proximity to forest edge. The shallow, flowing, cool water provides important larval habitat and the open areas with adjacent woodland edge provide adult hunting and roosting habitat. Michigan Hine’s emerald dragonfly sites could be classified as calcareous wetlands or northern fens with an underlining layer of shallow dolomite. Dominant vegetation in northern fens include sedges (Carex aquatilis, C. lasiocarpa, C. limosa, etc.), shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), rushes (Eleocharis spp.), and twig-rush (Cladium mariscoide). White cedar (Thuja occidentalis) commonly surrounds and invades northern fens. Other communities in and around Hine’s emerald observation locations include: rich conifer swamps, marl fens, coastal fens with seeps, marl pools, hummocks, shallow pools, and small creeks. Lotic - depositional (springs).

Specific Habitat Needs

Depositional spring needed in Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Pool

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


The most significant threats to the existence of this species have been identified as habitat destruction or alteration, and contamination. Types of direct habitat loss include commercial and residential development, quarrying, creating landfills, constructing pipelines, and filling of wetlands. Alteration of habitats include changing the hydrology of sites. This may include building roads, railways, pipelines, and ditches; flooding areas; pulling surface water from nearby areas for irrigation purposes; or pumping groundwater, which could lower groundwater levels. Roads and railroads which bisect suitable habitat are especially problematic. Wetland hydrology and quality should also be maintained by preventing improper off-road vehicle use and controlling invasive weeds in these areas. Contamination is a concern due to chemicals and their slow movement through these habitats and the long aquatic stage of this dragonfly (2-4 years). Chemicals in muck sediments can persist and remain toxic for long periods of time and may be difficult if not impossible to treat. Other concerns identified by researchers include environmental extremes, road kills, disease or predation, and fragmentation of habitat leading to genetic stochasticity.

Survey Methods

Larvae can be sampled for at any time during the growing season but seem to be less active during the cooler water temperatures of late fall and early spring. The bilge pump is used to clear crayfish burrows where the larvae tend to hide. Feeds over meadows or at forest edges by 7 am on hot days, but most active from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm occasionally hanging from twigs. Sometimes they feed in swarms during the day or near sunset. Males patrol territories 2-5 yds over rivulets, darting between hovering points where they pivot in different directions. Females with the rear half of the abdomen look muddy two-toned, and their flickering brown wings are visible at some distance.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 23, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

Facebook link