common green darner

(Anax junius)

Conservation Status
common green darner
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Common green darner is a large, common dragonfly. It is 2 to 3 long, averaging 3 long. It is the most common darner in North America.

There is a black spot enclosed by a medium to dark blue semi-circle that forms a “bull’s eye” spot in front of the eyes.

The eyes are medium brown, the color of milk chocolate, with a yellow rear (posterior) rim.

The thorax is bright green and is not striped.

The abdomen is thick compared to other darners. The male abdomen has a dark purple top (dorsal) stripe and wide, bright blue side (lateral) stripes. The lateral stripes change to green toward the rear. The base of segment 3 (S3), the long and narrow segment close to the thorax, is white. When in flight, the abdomen is carried straight. The female abdomen is similar but with grayish-green lateral stripes. In cool weather the lateral stripes of both sexes fade to the same color as the dorsal stripe. S2 is the last segment to fade. Immature individuals of both sexes have a brownish-red abdomen.

On the male the pair of appendages at the end of the abdomen (cerci) have a pointed spine at the outer corner.

The wingspan is up to 4. The wings are clear and have a small yellow area near the tip. The hindwing triangle and the forewing triangle are the same size.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

2 to 3 long

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  No similar species  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Ponds, lakes, and slow streams with vegetation.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Mid-April to mid-October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults have an irregular territory which they patrol about three feet above the ground.

They perch vertically.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Juveniles in Canada and the northern Unites States flock together in the fall and migrate south, following the north shore of Lake Superior for part of their route. Radio tagging has shown that they fly as much as 87 miles in a day. American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) migrate at the same time using the same route, and may use the darner migration as a food source during their migration. There is also a resident population that overwinters as larvae. The migrant population reproduces in the southern United States and their offspring migrate north in the spring.

Eggs are deposited inside the stem of emergent vegetation below the waterline. This is the only darner that lays eggs while the male and female are still in tandem. The naiads take several years to mature. When they mature they crawl up an emergent plant and an adult emerges at night.

 
     
 

Nymph Food

 
 

Tadpoles, small fish, mosquito larvae, fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Midges, mosquitoes, caddis flies, flies, butterflies, moths, stoneflies, and mayflies.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 16, 18, 24.

 
  10/28/2018      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)  
 

Suborder

Epiprocta  
  Infraorder Anisoptera (dragonflies)  
 

Superfamily

Aeshnoidea  
 

Family

Aeshnidae (darners)  
 

Genus

Anax  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common green darner

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Cercus

One of a pair of small sensory appendages at the end of the abdomen of many insects and other arthropods. In Odonata, one of the upper pair of claspers. Plural: cerci.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

Greg Watson

 
 

While you have several photos of the common green darner on your site, none of them show the dragonfly in the “wheel formation”. I took this picture on the Wagon Wheel Trail in La Crescent, MN on May 26, 2021.

Thanks for your excellent web page. I use it often to help identify the things I take pictures of.

  common green darner  
 

Judy & Larry Ahlbrecht

 
  Yesterday I woke up to this beautiful dragonfly on my screen and it remained there till dark. Looking it up, I am sure it is a Green Darner.   common green darner  
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    common green darner   common green darner  
           
    common green darner   common green darner  
           
    common green darner   common green darner  
           
    common green darner      
 

Bob Ford

 
    common green darner      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
    common green darner      
 

Dan W. Andree

 
 

It was resting on a thin branch of a tree. Almost looked like a hanging dragonfly ornament.

 
    common green darner      
 

Stuart Ackman

 
 

seen by our neighbor. Beautiful creature.

 
    common green darner      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Female or juvenile

 
    common green darner      
 

Male on a cool morning or juvenile male; note the blue on S2.

 
    common green darner   common green darner  
           
    common green darner      
 

Claspers

 
    common green darner      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Common Green Darner
DianesDigitals
  Common Green Darner  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
Anax junius (Green Darner)
Allen Chartier
  Anax junius (Green Darner)  
Common Green Darner
Victor Fazio
  Common Green Darner  
COMMON GREEN DARNER DRAGONFLY
Ed McAskill
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 18, 2011

COMMON GREEN DARNER DRAGONFLY

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

Dan W. Andree

 
  "Cyclopean Looking Dragonfly Head"
Published on Mar 7, 2016
 
   
 
About

Interesting head markings on this dragonfly especially up close.

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Common Green Darner Dragonfly (Aeshnidae: Anax junius) Female, Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 28, 2012

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (28 May 2012).

 
  Green Darner Dragonfly (Aeschnidae: Anax junius) Dorsal Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 17, 2011

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (17 August 2011).

 
  Common Green Darner Dragonfly (Aeschnidae: Anax junius) Lateral View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 27, 2011

Photographed at the Grand Forks, North Dakota (24 August 2011).

 
  COMMON GREEN DARNERS MATING
Victor Trapp
 
   
 
About

Published on May 5, 2013

FOR WWW.MRTRAPP.ORG WEBSITE

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Greg Watson
5/26/2021

Location: Wagon Wheel Trail, La Crescent, MN

While you have several photos of the common green darner on your site, none of them show the dragonfly in the “wheel formation”. I took this picture on the Wagon Wheel Trail in La Crescent, MN on May 26, 2021.

Thanks for your excellent web page. I use it often to help identify the things I take pictures of.

common green darner

 
  Heather Packer
4/6/2021

Location: West Newton-Kellogg, MN

 
  Judy & Larry Ahlbrecht
8/31/2020

Location: Nelson Minnesota, Douglas Co.

Yesterday I woke up to this beautiful dragonfly on my screen and it remained there till dark. Looking it up, I am sure it is a Green Darner.

common green darner

 
  Alfredo Colon
10/16/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

common green darner

 
  Bob Ford
9/25/2019

Location: Andover MN

common green darner

 
  Alfredo Colon
8/8/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

common green darner

 
  Marie Freed
7/28/2019

Location: Rockville MN

resting on the leaves of the morning glory vines in my yard

 
  Kirk Nelson
9/10/2018

Location: Sunfish Lake Park, Lake Elmo, MN

common green darner

 
  Dan W. Andree
1/31/2018

Location: Near a pond in Norman co. Mn.

It was resting on a thin branch of a tree. Almost looked like a hanging dragonfly ornament.

common green darner

 
  Stuart Ackman
8/22/2017

Location: Orono, MN

seen by our neighbor. Beautiful creature.

common green darner

 
  Chris Blowers
9/3/2015

Location: kanabec county

just saw your map had kanabec county white. but today I ran into one for the first time so you can fill kanabec in.

 
  John Valo
9/5/2015

Common green darner has been recorded in all of the surrounding counties two counties deep. It is unlikely that the dragonfly is not found in Kanabec County. However, the map is created using only the sources listed and verified sightings. For a sighting to be verified it must include a photo sufficient to identify the species. Send us a photo of common green darner taken in Kanabec County and the county will be filled in on the map.

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

Agassiz Dunes SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Woods Heritage Forest WMA

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Boot Lake SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Cedar Rock SNA

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Clinton Prairie SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

French Regional Park

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Keller Regional Park

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

McKnight Prairie

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Moose Lake State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Paul Bunyan Savanna

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Phelps Lake WMA

Pilot Knob

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Rockville County Park

Roscoe Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Sedan Brook SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Prairie Preserve

Tamarack Nature Center

Tribute WMA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion Highlands Research Recreation and WMA

Vermillion River WMA

Westwood Hills Nature Center

William O’Brien State Park

Woodland Trails Park

Zimmerman Prairie

 

 

 

Binoculars


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