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Common Green Darner (Anax junius)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Common Green Darner, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/22/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Common Green Darner  
Picture of Common-Green-Darner
Picture of Common-Green-Darner Picture of Common-Green-DarnerPicture of Common-Green-Darner

The large Common Green Darner is as fast as it is long and these water-loving insects are iconic summertime spectacles.

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, a group of giant darners that have flight speeds one wouldn't expect from such a large and heavy-looking insect. They are most recognized by their striking green coloration. The male features blue along the sides of the abdomen while the female is a greenish-gray. The male also has an eyespot on the head, giving it the appearance of a cyclops. Younger males may not yet have the blue coloring and may appear more like a female. To see a short video of one resting on sagebrush, click below:

Common Green Darners 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 forms. Adults eat mosquitoes, flies, midges, wasps and other flying insects, helping to control the population sizes of insects that many people consider pests.

Picture of the Common Green Darner
Picture of the Common Green Darner

Common Green Darner Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Common Green Darner
Scientific Name: Anax junius
Other Name(s): Green Darner, Snake Doctor, Darning Needle

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 68 mm to 80 mm (2.652 inches to 3.12 inches)
Identifying Colors: blue, gray, green, yellow, black, brown, purple
Additional Descriptors: tail, cyclops, eyespot, large, dragonfly, flying, beneficial

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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