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Lance-tipped Darner (Aeshna constricta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Lance-tipped Darner

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Image Credit: McCraine Mercantile Photography
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Image Credit: McCraine Mercantile Photography
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A long and large dragonfly, the Lance-tipped Darner has blue (or green) spots and stripes all over its sleek body.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
One of the Mosaic Darners, Lance-tipped Darners have a busier pattern on their abdomens than other types of darners. Seen from above, pairs of large blue spots alternate with pairs of small blue specks on each segment. From the side, an oblong blue spot appears to be split in two by the segment line. Two angled blue stripes sit on the sides of the thorax and two green stripes are visible behind the head. A short black pointy projection that resembles a lance, or spike, sticks out from between the claspers at the tip of the abdomen. Females are more brown and green or yellow.

This is a cold-climate darner that enjoys the cooler summers often typical in southern parts of provinces and northern states. They are almost always near a body or source of slow-moving water like a lake, lagoon, pond, or marsh. This aquatic habitat is essential for rearing young. Offspring are called naiads and they hatch from eggs laid underwater, and there they remain, feeding on small aquatic insects until it is time to molt into the winged adult form. At that point, the lobster-like naiads crawl out of the water and shed their juvenile exoskeletons.

Because the range for the Lance-tipped Darner is northern, they are more active later in the summer, after temperatures have properly warmed up. They may remain active until middle autumn when the temperatures begin to drop considerably.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Aeshinidae
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          Genus: Aeshna
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            Species: constricta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Aeshna constricta
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 65mm (1.77" to 2.55")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, blue, green
Descriptors: twin spots, double, specks, large, long, flying, blue-green, stripes

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 45mm (1.8in) and 65mm (2.6in)
Lo: 45mm
Md: 55mm
Hi: 65mm
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 Lance-tipped 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 Lance-tipped Darner. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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