Calopteryx Leach, 1815 - Jewelwings

Fig. 1: C. maculata, collected from Lenawee Co., Michigan
April 1997

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Page last updated: 10 August 1998

Notes on the Michigan Species of Calopteryx

Two of the five North American species - C. maculata and C. aequabilis - are found in Michigan. Both species of these very large damselflies are quite common in streams and rivers. Larvae are most frequently sampled from woody debris and rootlets of vegetation, to which they cling, in streams and river sections with adequate current. Whereas C. aequabilis tends to be found in larger streams and rivers, larvae of C. maculata commonly frequent smaller streams in shaded, forested areas (Figure 2), though there is some overlap and both species sometimes are conspecific. The latter species tends to be more commonly encountered in our state, though both are found throughout the state (see maps below).

Fig. 2. Calopteryx maculata habitat. The picture below is representative of the small streams in which C. maculata is frequently found. Larvae typically are found near and underneath streambanks with woody debris, or aquatic vegetation. Larvae of C. aquabilis are more often found in larger streams with more open vegetation. Small tributary of the East Branch of the St. Joseph River, Lenawee County, Michigan. Picture: © Mark O'Brien, 1997.

Life history of larvae for both species in Algonquin Park, Ontario was studied by Martin (1939). She found C. maculata to be univoltine, C. aequabilis semivoltine and requiring two or more years to complete development. In terms of growth rate, that of C. aequabilis tended to be greater than early on, then decreases, whereas that of C. maculata increases with maturity. Females required more time to mature than males. Very early instars of the two species were distinguishable based on the head width and length of the proximal antennal segment.

I (EB) have seen adults of C. maculata on wing in early May in southern Michigan (Black Creek, tributary of the River Raisin, Lenawee Co.) as well as C. maculata and C. aequabilis through mid- to late-June (Mountain Stream, Huron Mountains, Marquette Co.). These are some of our most beautiful of damselflies, rarely straying far from stream and river margins. Their intricate mating behavior, particularly that of male territoriality and mating rituals, has been the focus of much research wherever this genus occurs (e.g., Walker 1953, Johnson 1962, Waage 1973 and Conrad & Herman 1987).

Other links with information on the biology or ecology of larval Calopteryx:
none found as of 15 January 1998

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Michigan Species List

Map 1 Map 2
Maps 1-2: County distribution of the Michigan species of
Click on map for a larger image

Calopteryx aequabilis Say, 1839 - River Jewelwing - map 1
Calopteryx maculata (Beauvois, 1805) - Ebony Jewelwing - Map 2

Key to the Calopteryx Larvae of Michigan
(References: Walker 1953 and Westfall and May 1996)

1. Length of antennal segment 1 ca. 0.85x than width of head across eyes (Fig. 1); tubercles behind eyes prominent and acute, raised above level of eyes (Fig. 2); hind femur of final instar larva 7.5 mm or less - C. maculata

Fig. 1 Fig. 2: C. maculata

1A. Length of antennal segment 1 ca. 0.95x or greater than width of head across eyes (Fig. 1); tubercles behind eyes low and rounded, not raised above level of eyes (Fig. 3); hind femur of final instar larva 8.2 mm or more - C. aequabilis

Fig. 3: C. aequabilis

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Beauvois, P. de. 1805. Insectes recuilles en Afrique et en Amerique dans les royaumes d'Oware, a Saint-Dominique et dans les Étais-Unis pendants les années 1781-1797. Levrault:Paris. 167 pp.

Conrad, K. F. and T. B. Herman. 1987. Territorial and reproductive behavior of Calopteryx aequabilis Say (Zygoptera: Calopterygidae) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Advances in Odonatology 3:41-50.

Johnson, C. 1962. Breeding behavior and ovipoistion in Calopteryx maculatum (Beauvois) (Odonata: Calopterygidae). American Midland Naturalist 68:242-247.

Leach, W. E. 1815. Entomology, pp. 52-172. In Brewster's Edinburgh encyclopaedia. Vol. 9. Edinburgh.

Martin, R. D. C. 1939. Life histories of Agrion aequabile and Agrion maculatum (Agriidae: Odonata). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 32(3):601-615, pls. 1-4.

Say, T. 1839. Descriptions of new North American neuropterous insects and observations on some already described by (the late) Th. Say. Journal of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia 8:9-46.

Waage, J. K. 1973. Reproductive behaviour and its relation to territoriality in Calopteryx maculata (Beauvois). Behavior 47:240-256.

Walker, E. M. 1953. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 1. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Ontario. xi + 292 pp.

Westfall, M. J., Jr. and M. L. May. 1996. Damselflies of North America. Scientific Publishers: Gainesville, Florida. x + 650 pp.

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