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Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris)

• English name: Alpine Emerald
• German name: Alpen-Smaragdlibelle
• French name: Cordulie alpestre
• Dutch name: Taigaglanslibel
• Swedish name: Fjälltrollslända
• Norwegian name: Fjell-metalløyenstikker
• Finnish name: Aapakiiltokorento
• Danish name: Alpin smaragdlibel
• Italian name: Smeralda alpina
• Czech name: lesklice horská
• Slovenian name: Alpski lesketnik
• Bulgarian name: N/A

Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris)

Distribution map Somatochlora alpestris

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies


General • a very dark, metallic-green species of the far North and North-East; also occurs at altitude in Central Europe
Classification • suborder: Anisoptera (dragonflies); family: Corduliidae
Scientific name Somatochlora alpestris (Selys, 1840)
Distribution • click or tap the Map button above
Notes ➤ smaller and noticeably darker than Somatochlora metallica
  • very similar to S. sahlbergi with which it co-occurs in the far North
  • cordulids are 'fliers': they spend a lot of time on the wing and seldom hang up for a rest
Habitat • bog pools, puddles and lakes
Dimensions • typical body length: 45-50 mm; hindwing: 30-34 mm
Both sexesHead• the eyes are green (brown in immature animals)
 Abdomen• S3 bears a narrow white ring on either end; the lower ring may be (partly) obscured
  • S4-S10 are uniformly black (or very dark green)
 Wings➤ there are two cubito-anal crossveins in the forewing (as opposed to the usual single crossvein in all other European Somatochlora species)
  • the pterostigma is relatively dark-coloured
MaleAbdomen➤ the upper appendages are double-angled
FemaleAbdomen• there are no yellow spots on the abdomen
  • compated to S. arctica the abdomen is short and thickset
  ➤ the vulvar scale is triangular in shape
Photographs • all of our photos below were made in Northern Finland

Line DrawingLineDrawing: the male's appendages in dorsal view.

Somatochlora sahlbergi (left) and S. alpestris (right)
In S. alpestris the forewing has two cubito-anal crossveins; in S. sahlbergi (and all other European species of the genus) it has one.

Somatochlora alpestris (left) and S. sahlbergi (right)
In S. alpestris the appendages are double-angled; in S. sahlbergi they are single-angled.

Somatochlora alpestris (left) and S. sahlbergi (right)
In S. alpestris the vulvar scale is triangular in shape; in S. sahlbergi it is elongated in shape.

Alpine Emerald (Somatochlora alpestris)
Male appendages in dorsal view
Drawing by Ruth Ilka Nüß
© 2013 Lehmann & Nüß and DragonflyPix.com

Click on a thumbnail to display the photograph (at 1200 x 800 pixels) in a new window.

Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 1 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

1 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1627 24/07/2012 12:44 Finland F8 1/500 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 2 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

2 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1628 27/07/2013 14:28 Finland F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 3 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

3 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1629 14/07/2017 15:07 Finland F8 1/160 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 4 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

4 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1630 15/07/2017 10:42 Finland F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 5 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

5 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1631 24/07/2012 12:47 Finland F8 1/400 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 6 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

6 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1632 15/07/2017 10:49 Finland F8 1/200 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 7 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

7 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1633 24/07/2012 12:48 Finland F8 1/400 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 8 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

8 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1634 15/07/2017 10:57 Finland F8 1/125 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 9 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

9 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1635 19/07/2018 13:39 Finland F8 1/320 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 10 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

10 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1636 15/07/2017 12:40 Finland F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 11 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

11 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1637 19/07/2018 17:29 Finland F8 1/60 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 12 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

12 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1638 20/07/2018 14:34 Finland F8 1/400 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 13 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ⚤

13 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1639 16/07/2017 16:27 Finland F8 1/500 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 14 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

14 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1640 25/07/2012 11:39 Finland F8 1/200 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 15 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

15 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1641 27/07/2013 14:53 Finland F8 1/180 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
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Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ⚤

16 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1642 16/07/2017 16:32 Finland F8 1/500 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 17 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♂

17 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1643 20/07/2018 17:38 Finland F8 1/320 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
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Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

18 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1644 18/07/2018 08:25 Finland F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
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Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ♀

19 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1645 19/07/2018 12:17 Finland F8 1/200 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Somatochlora alpestris, thumbnail 20 / 20
Taigaglanslibel (Somatochlora alpestris) ⚤

20 / 20; PhotoID: Dr1646 16/07/2017 17:12 Finland F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF