Species Profile

Hine's Emerald

Scientific Name: Somatochlora hineana
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
Range: Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Hine's Emerald


Somatochlora hineana, the Hine’s Emerald, is a dragonfly (Order Odonata) in the family Corduliidae, the emeralds. Adults have brilliant green eyes, a metallic green thorax with two lateral yellow stripes, and a blackish-brown abdomen. Hine’s Emerald is a globally rare species. (Updated 2017/08/30)


Distribution and Population

The extant global range of Hine’s Emerald includes Ontario and four states in the United States: Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri. Historically, it was also known from Ohio, Indiana and Alabama, where it is now thought to be extirpated. In Ontario, Hine’s Emerald is known from only a single site – the Minesing Wetlands in Simcoe County, west of Barrie. (Updated 2017/08/30)



Hine’s Emerald is restricted to calcareous wetlands (marshes, sedge meadows, and fens) dominated by graminoid vegetation and fed primarily by groundwater from intermittent seeps. Most sites have an underlying layer of dolomitic bedrock close to the surface. Some biologists believe that the habitat in Minesing Wetlands has become increasingly dry over the past 35 years and anticipated urban development in the surrounding region is considered a serious threat as a result of loss of groundwater recharge. On the other hand development appears to be restricted. There is more general agreement that invasive plants such as European Common Reed and Glossy Buckthorn are serious threats. The presence of crayfish burrows likely represents a critical component of Hine’s Emerald habitat and may be a factor limiting its distribution. (Updated 2017/08/30)



Hine’s Emerald undergoes incomplete metamorphosis involving three stages: egg, larva (nymph) and adult. Mated females lay eggs in muck and/or shallow water and the eggs hatch into aquatic larvae that live in the wetland for 3-5 years before emerging as adults. The larvae are generalist predators and feed upon a variety of other invertebrates. Once mature, larvae crawl from their aquatic environment onto an emergent plant where the adult emerges from the larval skin. The timing of adult emergence in the Canadian portion of the range likely begins somewhere between early to mid-June. Following a week-long pre-reproductive period, adults choose breeding sites and use these areas to mate and lay eggs. Adult dragonflies are aerial predators and feed on a variety of insects. (Updated 2017/08/30)



Changes in surface and sub-surface hydrology could be detrimental to populations of Hine’s Emerald if alterations of water regimes affect water to reduce or eliminate potential larval habitat. The aquifer that is believed to be the principal source of groundwater supplying the eastern portion of the Minesing Wetlands (where the only known Canadian population of Hine’s Emerald is found) is located in the uplands to the east. Proposed housing developments in these uplands are expected to reduce the baseflow of water to the wetlands, thus impacting larval habitat. Contamination of groundwater is also a potential threat to Hine’s Emerald habitat. The uplands containing the aquifer that supplies the Minesing Wetlands are primarily comprised of permeable sand and gravel formations. As a result, the source of the water supplying the eastern portion of Minesing could be contaminated by agricultural pesticides and nutrient management, faulty or degraded septic beds and potential future development pressures. Yet another threat is the likely invasion of European Common Reed, which forms dense stands in fens, virtually eliminating native biodiversity. (Updated 2017/08/30)



Federal Protection

The Hine's Emerald is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

6 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Hine's Emerald (2011)

    This dragonfly, which is rare throughout its range, is known from only one Canadian location where habitat decline is considered likely due to urban development and invasive species.


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2016)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2017)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects. List of Wildlife Species at Risk (referral back to COSEWIC) Order

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2011 (2011)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 8, 2012 for species undergoing normal consultations and by November 8, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.