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Common Green Darner (Anax junius)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Green Darner

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

Updated: 12/29/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.

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.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Common-Green-Darner

bees; wasps; mosquitos; butterflies and midges
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Anax junius
Other Name(s): Green Darner, Snake Doctor, Darning Needle
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 68mm to 80mm (2.67" to 3.14")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: blue; gray; green; yellow; black; brown; purple
Descriptors: tail; cyclops; eye; eyespot; large; dragonfly; flying; beneficial

Common-Green-Darner Video(s)

A resting Common Green Darner.

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 68mm (2.7in) and 80mm (3.1in)
Lo: 68mm
Md: 74mm
Hi: 80mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Common Green Darner may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Common Green Darner. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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