Metallic emerald medium-sized dragonfly with bright green eyes.

Male: abdomen is waisted and widens towards the end.

Female: broader body.




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Species GroupDragonflies
Scientific NameSomatochlora metallica
Status & Distribution

Listed as Vulnerable in the British Odonata Red List 2008.

The Brilliant Emerald is considered to be a nationally rare species.

  • Habitats occupied in Scotland and in southeast England are only broadly similar: sheltered, standing or slow-flowing waters usually, but not always, edged with good tree cover.
  • Larvae need a place to hide underwater and ideally need the dark – i.e. shade provided by trees, overhanging banks, etc.
  • Water bodies ideally but not exclusively need to have a soft peaty or muddy substrate, often overlaid with leaf litter.
Flight PeriodBrilliant Emerald
Adult Identification
  • Length: 50-55mm
  • Bright green eyes,
  • Dark metallic emerald body.
  • Wings are suffused by saffron, particularly in the female.
  • Male: abdomen is waisted and widens towards the end.
  • Female: Broader abdomen. Vulvar scale is distinctive as it is long and points downwards from the base of the abdomen.
Larval Information

Emerald Dragonfly larvae have a squat spider-like body-shape similar to Chaser, Skimmers and Darters, but significantly longer back legs.


Very large dorsal spines on the abdomen.

  • Over-management or lack of appropriate management.
  • Deforestation
  • Reduction in water levels.
  • Pollution.
  • Introduction of fish.

Brilliant Emerald Management Profile

General management principles include maintaining water levels and targeting survey work to map emergence sites. There are also best practice guidelines for managing inhabited sites including sensitive cutting of emergent vegetation, dredging and pruning.

Similar Species

Downy Emerald

  • Hairier.
  • More bronze in appearance.

Northern Emerald

  • More bronze in appearance.