Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Common Green Darner - (Anax junius)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/17/2014

The large Common Green Darner is as fast as it is long. These water-loving insects are iconic summertime spectacles on ponds, creeks, lakes and marshes.

Common Green Darners are beautiful dragonflies with transparent wings. They are large specimens that are common throughout North America and are thought to be somewhat migratory. They are members of the family Aeschnidae, home to giant darners that have flight speeds one wouldn't expect from such a large and heavy-looking insect.

They are a species of dragonfly and are most recognizable for their striking green coloration. The male features blue along the sides of the abdomen while the female features a greenish-gray. The male also has an eyespot on the head, giving it the appearance of a cyclops.

They are almost always found near water sources. Females will slightly bend their abdomens over water and insert an egg, one-at-a-time, into the stem of an underwater plant. The eggs hatch and young naiads (juveniles) emerge, looking more like tiny lobsters than darners. They live underwater and feed on tadpoles, other aquatic insects and tiny fish until they grow and develop. The naiads then crawl out of the water and morph into their adult selves. Adults eat mosquitoes, flies, midges, wasps and other flying insects, helping to control the population sizes of what many people consider pests.

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Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common name: Common Green Darner
Scientific Name: Anax junius
Other Names: Green Darner, Snake Doctor, Darning Needle

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Odonata
      Family: Aeshnidae
       Genus: Anax
        Species: junius

Adult Size (Length): 68mm to 80mm (2.68in to 3.15in)

Identifying Colors: blue, gray, green, yellow, black, brown

Additional Descriptors: tail, cyclops, eyespot, large, dragonfly, flying, beneficial

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.