Ebony Jewelwing Spiritual Meaning: Unlocking Nature’s Wisdom

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The ebony jewelwing is a stunning damselfly native to eastern North America, known for its iridescent green body and dark wings. These captivating insects spark the imagination and have been associated with spiritual symbolism.

In many cultures, dragonflies and damselflies, including the ebony jewelwing, represent transformation and adaptability. Their presence in tranquil, natural settings often evokes a sense of inner peace and connection to the environment. Humans may find inspiration in their delicate beauty and associate them with spiritual growth or a deeper understanding of life’s purpose.

Now, let’s explore the spiritual significance of the ebony jewelwing:

  • Symbol of transformation: Their life cycle from aquatic nymphs to graceful adult insects represents personal growth and metamorphosis.
  • Connection to water: They are commonly found near streams and rivers, which can symbolize emotions, cleansing, and rejuvenation in various spiritual beliefs.
  • Colors: The iridescent green and black hues of the ebony jewelwing may be linked to the heart chakra, inspiring love, compassion, and harmony.

While these spiritual interpretations may vary, the presence of the ebony jewelwing is undeniably captivating, providing us with a moment of wonder and reflection in the natural world.

Ebony Jewelwing Overview

Physical Characteristics

The ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) is a striking damselfly species found in eastern North America. These insects have iridescent green bodies, with distinct wing coloration depending on their gender:

  • Males: Completely black wings
  • Females: Smoky bronze wings with a distinct white spot (pterostigma)

This large damselfly species measures around two inches in length, making it larger than some dragonflies1.

Habitat and Distribution

Ebony jewelwings inhabit areas near:

  • Streams
  • Rivers
  • Wooded locations

Their distribution mainly covers Eastern North America and they prefer shaded, slow-moving waters2.

Life Cycle and Behavior

The life cycle of the ebony jewelwing consists of several stages:

  1. Eggs
  2. Larvae
  3. Adults

Females lay eggs on aquatic plants, and after hatching, the larvae feed on small aquatic invertebrates such as:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Gnats

The larvae eventually metamorphose into adults, developing wings and becoming strong fliers3.

Adult ebony jewelwings exhibit territorial behavior. Males will defend territories near breeding sites while searching for potential mates4.

Spiritual Meaning of Ebony Jewelwings

Power and Protection

The ebony jewelwing is a unique damselfly with dark, iridescent wings. In spiritual terms, their striking appearance can symbolize power and protection. Some people believe that the ebony jewelwing’s iridescent colors act as a shield – reflecting negative energy and protecting the wearer from harm.

Symbols of power in ebony jewelwings may include:

  • Iridescent colors representing a strong spiritual aura
  • Dark wings symbolizing a guardian or protective force

Strength and Wisdom

Another aspect of the ebony jewelwing’s spiritual meaning is the idea of strength and wisdom. Their ability to control their flight among turbulent currents in streams indicates strength, adaptability, and resilience. People who feel connected to ebony jewelwings might seek solace in their wisdom and take inspiration from their strength to navigate through life’s challenges.

Lessons of strength and wisdom from ebony jewelwings:

  • Adapting to changing conditions
  • Navigating life’s challenges with resilience

Destiny and Resilience

Lastly, the ebony jewelwing represents destiny and resilience in one’s spiritual journey. Their fascinating lifecycle – beginning as aquatic nymphs and eventually transforming into aerial adult damselflies – serves as a metaphor for personal growth and the pursuit of one’s destiny. Resilience is evident in their ability to thrive in various aquatic environments, coping with obstacles and potential threats along their life path.

Characteristics symbolizing destiny and resilience in ebony jewelwings:

  • A lifecycle that reflects personal growth and transformation
  • Thriving in diverse environments, representing an adaptable spirit

By exploring the spiritual meanings of ebony jewelwings related to power and protection, strength and wisdom, and destiny and resilience, we can appreciate the unique qualities they possess and apply these lessons to our own spiritual journey.

Cultural Significance

Ancient Egyptian Connection

  • Ebony tree: symbolized royalty and power
  • Jewelwing: associated with beauty and grace

In Ancient Egyptian culture, the ebony wood from the ebony tree was highly valued for its symbolic representation of royalty and power. Similarly, the ebony jewelwing, with its iridescent green body and dark wings, was admired for its beauty and grace.

Literature and Traditions

  • Names: “black-winged damselfly”
  • Languages: English, French, and African languages
  • Pride and unity: featured in literary works and cultural expressions

The ebony jewelwing, also known as the “black-winged damselfly,” has been referenced in various literary works and cultural expressions throughout history. Its name varies in different languages, including English, French, and some African languages. The insect has been used as a symbol of pride and unity due to its captivating appearance, particularly in African-American literature.

Comparison Table

Entity Ebony Tree Ebony Jewelwing Connection
Significance Royalty, power Beauty, grace Both highly valued
Cultural Impact Ancient Egypt Literature Historical presence

The ebony tree and the ebony jewelwing share a connection in the sense that both are highly valued in history for their cultural significance. The tree is connected to Ancient Egyptian royalty and power, while the jewelwing is appreciated as a symbol of beauty and grace in literature.

Symbolic Associations

Elegance and Mystery

The ebony jewelwing is a beautiful and unique damselfly that embodies elegance and mystery. Its iridescent body displays an exquisite blend of colors, including black, blue, and green, which can be particularly mesmerizing during the summer months. These mystical creatures captivate onlookers with their:

  • Smoky wings
  • Iridescent bodies
  • Graceful flight

Their distinct appearance evokes a sense of wonder, making them a symbol of elegance and mystery.

Grief and Shelter

The ebony jewelwing’s dark coloring, particularly its black wings, has been associated with grief and shelter. As it flutters through the air, it symbolizes:

  • The need for protection
  • Comfort during difficult times
  • Overcoming obstacles

These spiritual meanings empower individuals to find solace and strength in the presence of these captivating insects.

Speed and Flying Insects

Damselflies, including the ebony jewelwing, are swift and agile flying insects. Their speed can be symbolically attributed to:

  • Adaptability
  • Quick decision-making
  • The ability to overcome challenges

These characteristics are particularly prevalent in the ebony jewelwing due to its agile forewings and hindwings, allowing it to swiftly navigate its environment.

Trait Ebony Jewelwing Other Flying Insects
Agility High (swift fliers) Variable
Elegance High (iridescent) Variable
Spiritual High (symbolic) Variable
Associations Grief, shelter Variable

The ebony jewelwing sets itself apart from other flying insects in terms of elegance, spiritual meanings, and symbolic associations.

Environmental Connections

Plant and Animal Encounters

The ebony jewelwing, or Calopteryx maculata, is a unique species of damselfly frequently encountered among diverse plants and animals in its North American habitat. It is known for its iridescent green body and dark wings, which make it stand out among other damselflies, as well as dragonflies.

In their habitats, ebony jewelwings interact with a variety of organisms such as:

  • Birds
  • Crane flies
  • Water fleas
  • Rotifers
  • Copepods

North American Presence

Ebony jewelwings are endemic to eastern North America and they can be found near clean, slow-flowing water bodies with abundant vegetation. Their beautiful-wing exoskeletons play a vital role in their survivability and aid them in their search for food, shelter, and reproduction.

Here’s a comparison of ebony jewelwing and river jewelwing features:

Feature Ebony Jewelwing River Jewelwing
Wings Black or smoky bronze Slender and smoky
Wingtips color Coal black Smoky transparent
Size Two inches Similar, slightly smaller

In the context of spirituality, the ebony jewelwing’s unique physical characteristics and its symbolic meaning as a representation of balance, transformation, and adaptability can provide inspiration for people seeking a connection to the environment and its non-human contents. Through examining these characteristics, we can appreciate the ebony jewelwing’s environmental connections, which in turn may help us better understand our own roles within the natural world.

Ebony Jewelwing in Popular Culture

Fashion and Design

The Ebony Jewelwing, a beautiful and unique damselfly, has inspired fashion and design due to its striking appearance. Some fashion designers have been drawn to its mesmerizing deep black wings and iridescent green body, incorporating these colors and shapes into their work. Examples of this inspiration can be found in:

  • Jewelry: Earrings and necklaces mimic the slim and elongated form of the Ebony Jewelwing.
  • Clothing: Prints and patterns on dresses, shirts, and other garments feature the damselfly’s image or color palette.

Music and Creative Expression

While the direct influence of the Ebony Jewelwing on music might not be as apparent, its spiritual and symbolic associations can be connected to creative expression in general. The Ebony Jewelwing may represent themes such as transformation, freedom, and adaptability, which can resonate with musicians and other artists. For example:

  • Songwriting: Lyrics might include references to the Ebony Jewelwing to evoke feelings of growth, change, and overcoming obstacles.
  • Visual art: Paintings and illustrations may incorporate the damselfly’s distinctive colors and shape as a symbol of spiritual growth or resilience.

We can observe how the Ebony Jewelwing has played a role in popular culture by looking at the different areas where it makes a presence.


  1. https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/ebonyjewelwing.htm

  2. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN1193

  3. https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/odonata/Calopteryx_maculata.htm

  4. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/ebony-jewelwing

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Ebony Jewelwing


favorite photo
Love your site, it has answered many questions. I thought you might like this photo of an Ebony Jewelwing (found out what it was on your site!)
Photo Lady

Hello Photo Lady
Thank you for sending us you lovely photo. It will surely help readers with identifications in the future.

Letter 2 – Ebony Jewelwing


ebony jewelwing
Some friends told us about your great site, so I finally got around to checking it out. I was happy to discover a damsel that we had seen on our vacation last year, so was able to ID it. You mentioned that you would like better photos of ‘bugs’ you have pictured, so I am attaching one that my husband took of an ‘ebony jewelwing’ This picture was taken on June 10, 2006, in northern Minnesota. Thanks for a great site! I will be sending you some pictures of some unidentified ‘bugs’ that I have.
Denise Hamilton
Napa, CA

Hi Denise,
Your Ebony Jewelwing is a much welcomed addition.

Letter 3 – Ebony Jewelwing


What is the name of this found two in my yard and have never seen them around before.

The Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata, is a Damselfly, not a Dragonfly. Damelflies and Dragonflies are in the same insect order Odonata, but different suborders.

Letter 4 – Ebony JewelWing


Ebony JewelWing
Hi –
Thought I would share this pic of an ebony jewelwing, flying around here in Northern CT, we had though it was a damselfly, but learned from your site that that does not seem to be the correct ID!

Hi Jonna,
We agree that this lovely photograph depicts the beautiful Damselfly, the Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata.

Letter 5 – Ebony Jewelwing


Black “Fly” ???
Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 11:46 AM
Hey Dan,
Are you familiar with these ‘flies’ ???
Sorry about the quality of the photo, the foc us is a little off.

Ebony Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing

Hi Ferd,
This little beauty is a species of Damselfly known as a Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata. The white spots at the tips of the wings indicate that this is a female. You can see more photos on Bugguide.

Letter 6 – Ebony Jewelwing


Ebony Jewelwing
July 20, 2009
Hi there,
Love your site. My kids are budding entomologists and we spend our summers finding bugs all day. This one was so pretty I thought i’d send you the picture. Looked it up on your site to find out – i’m pretty sure – an ebony jewelwing damselfly. The photo doesn’t do the colors justice – it was so metallic and bright. Very cool bug.
The Franke family
Cincinnati, OH

Ebony Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing

Dear Franke family,
Thanks for submitting your photo of an Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata, one of the Damselflies.  The hand provides a nice sense of scale.

Letter 7 – Ebony Jewelwing


Subject: Ebony Jewelwing, wings spread
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
July 20, 2013 4:02 pm
Thanks to you and your readers’ submissions, I have figured out this sweet backyard guardian is an ebony jewelwing damselfly (and a guy). He seemed to be making sure I didn’t steal the silver from the table, but when I brought out the camera, he turned into a ham. This sort of ”curtsey” is a kind of warning or territorial display, isn’t it?
Signature: Elfie B.

Ebony Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing

Dear Elfie B.,
Thanks for sending this interesting angle on an Ebony Jewelwing.  We will try to research your question about warning or territorial display.


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    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • I love the ebony jewelwing damselfly! It is amazing to watch it flutter from leaf to leaf. I saw my first on in Virginia this last week. I did a double take because it has the body and head of a dragon fly but it’s wings are different…the way he used his wings was like a butterfly; slow and flowing. Amazing! As I look at other pictures of the ebony jewelwing damselfly I notice four wings in pictures instead of the two I saw…or thought I saw. Do they have a two wings on each side or just one wing on each side?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.
    Leslee Riddell
    Shiloah Farm, VA

  • I love the ebony jewelwing damselfly! It is amazing to watch it flutter from leaf to leaf. I saw my first on in Virginia this last week. I did a double take because it has the body and head of a dragon fly but it’s wings are different…the way he used his wings was like a butterfly; slow and flowing. Amazing! As I look at other pictures of the ebony jewelwing damselfly I notice four wings in pictures instead of the two I saw…or thought I saw. Do they have a two wings on each side or just one wing on each side?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.
    Leslee Riddell
    Shiloah Farm, VA


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