Friday, June 21, 2013

Ebony Jewelwing - Caloptryx maculata

Ebony Jewelwing - male, notice how the body color seems mainly green
Ebony Jewelwing - Caloptryx maculata is unique in that it is the only damselfly in the Northeast are entirely black wings.  Ebony Jewelwing are one of the hundred and 66 North American damselflies and dragonflies that are found in Massachusetts.  Starting in June every year, I find the Ebony Jewelwing hovering around the waters of the Nemasket River at Oliver Mill Park in Middleborough, Massachusetts.  Ebony Jewelwings flutter like a butterfly and show brilliant flashes of colors.  It size ranges between 1.5 to 2.5 inches.  The male of the species has a brilliant blue-green color and black wings with the female being a dull, a Brown body and smokey wings, which have glistening white spots near the tip of the wings.  They are normally found near wooded streams and rivers, though occasionally they can be found in the middle of the woods.  Ebony Jewelwings will prey on many species mosquitoes, Beatles, and even of the dragonflies and damselflies, and they in turn are prey to other types insects, frogs fish and birds.  The males are territorial, driving other males away, and there will flutter in a courtship display for females.

So the next time you are out, keep your eyes open for this easily identified damselfly.
Ebony Jewelwing - male, notice how the body color as it is back lit seems mainly blue

Ebony Jewelwing - female, fluttering her wings, noticed the white spots at the tip of the wings

Ebony Jewelwing - female, notice that the wings are wings, not black as in the male