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Giant Darner (Anax walsinghami)

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

 Updated: 8/20/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Giant Darner  
Picture of Giant-Darner

The longest and largest dragonfly in the U.S., the beneficial and beautiful Giant Darner is hard to miss.

The Giant Darner is hailed as the largest example of dragonfly found in the United States of America. This dragonfly can measure about 5" in length with a mighty wide wingspan of up to 5" as well. Highly identifiable by their blue and black coloring, the Giant Darner will not pass your attention when it comes zipping by.

The Giant Darner appears similar to the Common Green Darner (detailed elsewhere on this site) and shares its large size and interesting coloring pattern. The Giant Darner is differs from the Common Green Darner by its much longer abdomen. The Giant Darner's abdomen is more than twice the length of its body while the Common Green Darner's 'tail' is about the same length of the body.

Giant Darners can be found as far south as Mexico and cover portions of the lower western United States. Mating and feeding activity keeps the Giant Darner busy throughout the spring and summer months. Adults eat insects (crawling and flying), helping control the population size of nuisance bugs like mosquitoes and flies.

Like most other dragonflies, the Giant Darner lays its eggs in water sources, allowing larvae to burrow into the water source's bottom. These develop into naiads and feed on other aquatic insects as well as small fish and tadpoles. They eventually crawl out of the water and finish developing wings and mature into adults.

Giant Darner Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Giant Darner
Scientific Name: Anax walsinghami
Other Name(s): Darner

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: walsinghami

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 90 mm to 127 mm (3.51 inches to 4.953 inches)
Identifying Colors: green, tan, black, blue
Additional Descriptors: flying, helpful

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Arizona; California; Colorado; Nevada; New Mexico; Texas; Utah; 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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