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Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Dragonhunter

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Image Credit: Desira F., taken by the Duck River in middle TN
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A fast and formidable flier, the Dragonhunter does just what its name suggests: it hunts dragonflies.

Updated: 09/23/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The large Dragonhunter is a type of Clubtail dragonfly, a group that generally has a wide tail tip (though not all do). This species may be completely green, including its eyes and wings, or it may be black with a yellow stripe running down its abdomen, and diagonal yellow stripes on the sides of its thorax. Each of the four wings in this variation has a thin, black bar on the front edge near the tip. This mighty Dragonfly eats other, small dragonflies and insects, often capturing them while in flight.

The naiad, or juvenile form, of the Dragonhunter looks more like a cross between a bug and a crustacean. The brown naiad has a round abdomen that has plate-like segments. The three pairs of legs are shortest by the head and longest in back. They are often spotted near water sources, like on the banks of creeks, streams, or slow-moving rivers. Dragonfly naiads spend their life underwater, feeding on other aquatic insects and possibly plant matter. Once they have grown and developed, they crawl out of the water in order to molt into their winged adult form on land. Because they are only on land in this form for a short time, they are not easily recognized for what they are: immature dragonflies.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Gomphidae
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          Genus: Hagenius
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            Species: brevistylus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hagenius brevistylus
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 72mm to 85mm (2.83" to 3.34")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, brown, black, yellow
Descriptors: long tail, yellow stripes, green eyes, brown bug, river, creek, armor plates

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 72mm (2.8in) and 85mm (3.3in)
Lo: 72mm
Md: 78.5mm
Hi: 85mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Dragonhunter 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 Dragonhunter. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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