Metallic emerald medium-sized dragonfly with apple green eyes.

Male: abdomen is slightly club-shaped.

Female: broader body.

Where to See

Latin NameSomatochlora metallica
  • 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.

The main threats to this species come from over-management or lack of appropriate management, deforestation, reduction in water levels, pollution and the introduction of fish.

Status & Distribution

IUCN categorises the Brilliant Emerald as endangered in the UK.

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

Only found in a few locations in Scotland and south-east England.

Similar Species

Downy Emerald

  • Hairier body.
  • More bronze in appearance.

Northern Emerald

  • Yellow markings on the face and abdomen.
  • Smaller.

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. 

Management Fact File/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/somatochlora-metallica.pdf
Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 50-55mm
  • Apple green eyes
  • Dark metallic emerald body with a bright bronze sheen.
  • Wings are suffused by saffron, particularly in the female.
  • Male: Abdomen is slightly club-shaped.
  • Female: Broader abdomen. Vulvar scale is distinctive as it is long and points downwards from the base of the abdomen.
Flight PeriodBrilliant Emerald