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Darners

DarnersTo learn more about the groups (genera) of Darners, click on the links at the right or in the menu.

The most notable characteristic of darners is their size.  They are among the largest dragonflies that exist.  Most species range between 2.5" - 5" in length.  Darners have very large compound eyes that cover most of the head and meet along a broad seam on the top of the head.  The thorax is robust and often patterned with frontal stripes and two lateral stripes, which may be blue, green or yellow. Most Darners have long slender abdomens colorfully adorned with patterns of yellow, blue or green. Females are similar to males, but have stockier abdomens.

Darners are frequently seen flying in swarms during the late summer months, searching for food.  In the evenings they are commonly found patrolling around the shorelines in almost any body of water, or catching food on the wing  over open fields.  Darners are fast and strong fliers reaching great heights, and when they take time to perch, they often hang vertically on trees, although they may perch low in grasses or small bushes. Especially on cool mornings, they may perch horizontally on the ground.

Darners have been genetically programmed with a highly developed nervous system, enabling them some control over their body temperature; therefore they can fly in colder temperatures than most other dragonflies.  They have been seen well into mid-autumn in the Northeast.

Female darners have a blade-like ovipositor which allows them to insert their eggs into underwater plant tissues.  In most species the females oviposits alone, although there are a few exceptions like the Common Green Darner where the pair remains in tandem while egg laying.

Darner larvae are smooth and slender, mostly brown, mottled and banded with darker shades blending in with their environment.  They are active climbers and live in vegetation around still waters and stream edges. It is probably the most active and voracious larva among the dragonflies.  It will eat anything smaller than itself, including mosquito larvae, tadpoles, and has occasionally been known to dine on a small fish.

© 2017 Sheryl Chacon Search