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Montana Field Guides

River Jewelwing - Calopteryx aequabilis


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
It has a widespread, but spotty distribution in Montana and seems to have a preferred habitat not found in streams in many areas of the state.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    River Jewelwing (Calopteryx aequabilis) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 09/18/2008
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    ScoreU - Unknown

    CommentUnknown.

    Range Extent

    ScoreE - 5,000-20,000 km squared (about 2,000-8,000 square miles)

    Comment5000-20,000km (2,000-8,000square miles)

    Area of Occupancy

    Comment200-1000 km (125-620 miles) linear river

    Length of Occupancy

    ScoreLD - 200-1,000 km (about 125-620 miles)

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreE - Relatively Stable (±25% change)

    Short-term Trend

    ScoreE - Stable. Population, range, area occupied, and/or number or condition of occurrences unchanged or remaining within ±10% fluctuation

    CommentDocumenting many additional populations since 2006

    Threats

    ScoreG - Slightly threatened. Threats, while recognizable, are of low severity, or affecting only a small portion of the population or area.

    CommentClimate Change, increasing stream temperatures and lower snowpack could seriously impact the habitat that this speces exists in

    SeverityLow - Low but nontrivial reduction of species population or reversible degradation or reduction of habitat in area affected, with recovery expected in 10-50 years.

    ScopeLow - 5-20% of total population or area affected

    CommentNo threats identified

    ImmediacyLow - Threat is likely to be operational within 5-20 years.

    CommentNo threats identified

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreC - Not Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance; or species has high dispersal capability such that extirpated populations soon become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or other abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species but some key requirements are scarce in the generalized range of the species within the area of interest.

 
General Description
This is a large damselfly about 1 ¾ to 2 ¼ inches long (45 to 52 mm). The body is robust, especially in the females. The color is an unmistakable iridescent green or blue. The outer third of the wing is black. Flight can look erratic with the black tipped wings, as they are weak but graceful flyers.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The color is an unmistakable iridescent green or blue. The outer third of the wing is black.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.
 


Range Comments
Widespread across the mid-northern states of the US and soutern Canada provineces.This damselfly is found from southern British Columbia to Nova Scotia and south to New Jersey, Colorado, and Washington.

In Montana it is found infrequently in the lower elevation areas of the state. It was known only from western Montana (Miller and Gustafson 1996), until recently when it has been reported in spring-influenced, flowing streams in the northeastern part of the state (Stagliano 2007, Hendricks, Lenard and Stagliano 2012) and the southeastern corner of the state (Kohler, unpublished data 2012.

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 53

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
The River Jewelwing is found in swift and rocky forested clear streams and rivers with shade and patchy sunlight. Optimum habitats have sufficient submergent vegetation present (Nikula et al. 2002, Acorn 2004, Paulson 2009). However, they have also recently been found along in perennially flowing spring creeks in eastern Montana (Stagliano 2007).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Larvae feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp.
Adult- This damselfly will eat almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, small moths, mayflies, and flying ants or termites.

Reproductive Characteristics
Male River Jewelwings can patrol longs flights along the shoreline, but more often defend territories of open water with submerged aquatic vegetation from other males with short circular flights. When a female flies near, males perform courtship flights where they fly fairly stationary in front of the female alternating their front and back wing beats. After copulation, the female backs down the stem of an aquatic plant until she is a foot or more underwater, and lays her eggs in the stem of the plant. She then floats or swims to the surface and flies away (Nikula et al. 2002, Acorn 2004, Paulson 2009). The eggs hatch in 18 to 30 days and the naiads take 2 to 3 years to mature.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
River Jewelwing — Calopteryx aequabilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from