Giant Darner (Anax walsinghami)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Giant Darner.
Updated: 5/23/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 escape your attention when it comes zipping by.
The Giant Darner appears similar to the Common Green Darner (detailed elsewhere on this website) and shares its large size and interesting coloring pattern. The Giant Darner differs from the Common Green Darner by having a 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 its body. Giant Darners have a green thorax and the top of the abdomen is bright blue. The brown-black, slender part of the abdomen has bright blue along the dorsal side ('spine'). The long abdomen has a slight curve to it that bends upward. Large eyes are set on a yellow face.
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 to molt, where they finish developing, add wings and mature into adults.