Somatochlora arctica | Northern Emerald | Smaragaid an Mhóintigh



Conservation status

Ireland: Endangered

EU: Least Concern

The species is assessed as EN based on the criteria of restricted range and the past and future decline in the quality of habitat.

Native status


Species Biology


Length: 5cm

Wingspan: 6.8cm

Both sexes have brown eyes when immature but turn to bright emerald green when mature. They also have a dark pterostigma, dark abdomen covered in fine hairs and shiny metallic green thorax. Mature males have a club shaped abdomen that tapers at the waist and distinctive calliper-shaped anal appendages.

Mature females resemble the males although the abdomen is not waisted.

Adult habitat & habits

Adults hunt amongst trees. When landing the Emeralds hang from vegetation rather than perching on it.  Only flies in sunshine.


Found in bogs and heathland, only known to breed in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry. 

Flight period

June to July (occasionally August)


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Only ever found in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork. Absent from the rest of Ireland.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

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