Serendipity and Significance of
Quebec Emerald in Northern Minnesota
A male Somatochlora dragonfly was netted and photographed by Kurt Mead and June Tveekrem on July 11, 2005 in a boggy area of the north woods in northeastern Minnesota (Lake County). The location was approximately 47deg 25' latitude and 91deg 45' longitude, which is just east of the dividing line between St. Louis and Lake Counties, and is about 55 miles south of the Canadian border.
The dragonfly was mistakenly identified as Somatochlora kennedyi (Kennedy's Emerald), and June posted it on her website under that name.
Colin Jones, at that time a naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, saw the photo on the web and pointed out the ID error. He suggested it might be Somatochlora brevicincta (Quebec Emerald).
June then posted numerous high-resolution closeup photos and sent an email requesting help from several odonate experts who have experience with that species. After much examination and debate, Nick Donnelly became convinced it was indeed S. brevicincta. Most of the other experts concurred.
Update July 2006 - A specimen of the Quebec Emerald was found!
On July 15, Kurt Mead, Wayne Steffans, and Steve Van kekerix went out looking for the Quebec Emerald in the same spot where Kurt and June had first sighted it. They were unsuccessful, so they all decided to head home. Wayne stopped one last time to take a look and got a Quebec Emerald. He has the specimen.
Update August 2006 - The Quebec Emerald has a breeding population in Minnesota.
Wayne Steffans sent an email saying, "Several days after collecting the adult, I returned and explored the surrounding area because the habitat really didn't look all that great for S. brevicincta. In a beautiful poor fen about 1/2 mile away, I collected one (maybe 2) exuviae of S. brevicincta. So they are indeed breeding here in Minnesota."
This is a new record for Minnesota and only the second location in the United States. Previously, the only U.S. records were from Maine.