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Endangered Species Program
Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems
Hine's Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)
The Hine's emerald dragonfly is an endangered species. Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered and threatened species is the primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species program.
What Is The Hine's Emerald Dragonfly?
Appearance - This dragonfly has bright emerald-green eyes and a metallic green body, with yellow stripes on its sides. Its body is about 2.5 inches long; its wingspan reaches about 3.3 inches.
Range - Historically, the Hines emerald dragonfly was found in Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio and probably has been extirpated in those states. Today the dragonfly can only be found in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Habitat - The Hine's emerald dragonfly lives in calcareous (high in calcium carbonate) spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows overlaying dolomite bedrock.
Reproduction - Adults males defend small breeding territories, pursuing and mating with females who enter. The female lays eggs by repeatedly plunging the tip of her body into shallow water. Later in the season or the following spring, immature dragonflies, called nymphs, hatch from the eggs. The nymph lives in the water for 2 to 4 years, eating smaller aquatic insects and shedding its skin many times. The nymph then crawls out of the water and sheds its skin a final time, emerging as a flying adult. The adults may live only 4 to 5 weeks.
Why Is The Hine's Emerald Dragonfly Endangered?
Habitat Loss or Degradation - The greatest threat to the Hine's emerald dragonfly is habitat destruction. Most of the wetland habitat that this dragonfly depends on for survival has been drained and filled to make way for urban and industrial development.
Pesticides and Other Pollutants - Contamination of wetlands by pesticides or other pollutants also poses a threat. The dragonfly depends on pristine wetland or stream areas, with good water quality, for growth and development.
Changes in Ground Water - Development that decreases the amount or quality of ground water flowing to the dragonflys habitat threatens its survival because it depends on spring-fed shallow water to breed.
What Is Being Done To Prevent Extinction Of The Hine's Emerald Dragonfly?
Listing - The Hines emerald dragonfly was added to the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants on January 26, 1995. It is illegal to harm, harass, collect, or kill the dragonfly without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Recovery Plan - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepared a recovery plan that describes and prioritizes actions needed to help the dragonfly survive. The Recovery Plan is available on the website below or by writing to the address below.
Research - Researchers are studying the Hines emerald dragonfly to find the best way to manage for this species and its habitat.
Habitat Protection - Where possible, the dragonflys habitat is being protected and improved.
Public Education - Public education programs will be developed to raise awareness of the dragonflys plight. Residents living near prime dragonfly habitat may be contacted by an ambassador and provided with information about the dragonfly.
What Can I Do To Help Prevent The Extinction Of Species?
Learn - Learn more about the Hine's emerald dragonfly and other endangered and threatened species. Understand how the destruction of habitat leads to loss of endangered and threatened species and our nation's plant and animal diversity. Tell others about what you have learned.
Join - Join a conservation group; many have local chapters. Or volunteer at a local nature center, zoo, or wildlife refuge.
Protect - Protect water quality by minimizing use of lawn chemicals (i.e., fertilizers, hervices, and insecticides), recycling used car oil, and properly disposing of paint and other toxic household products.
Fact Sheet Revised March 2006
Last updated: March 12, 2018