Ebony Jewelwing

This week for Flora and Fauna Friday we have the gem of the murky mire, the Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata).

Fluttering on translucent onyx wings and shimmering in a metallic aquamarine the Ebony Jewelwing is the crowning beauty of our damselflies. Males appear cloaked in a reflective foil of deep blue-green that gives rise to wings so thoroughly dark as to at first appear opaque. Females are less reflective along the body but are indeed the namesake sex for the species, with wings a smoky ebony-black and encrusted with a snow-white stigma. They’re one of our largest species of Damselfly, reaching three inches in length. The species is common throughout the Eastern United States and can be easily found almost any time of the year down here in floodplain forests, bottomlands, stream sides, and practically any shaded wetland. Jewelwings are predatory, feeding mostly on mosquitoes and flies.

Damselflies are a close relative of the Dragonflies. As the name implies, they are less voracious and robust than their larger cousins but share many similar characteristics, like elongated bodies, narrow wings, and large spherical eyes. Damselflies generally have a svelter, more delicate appearance and prefer to hold their wings vertically and tilted back. Most notably, they are not as agile or active of a flier as Dragonflies, preferring to flutter and float rather than hover and dart.

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