common green darner

(Anax junius)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

common green darner


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed




Mid-April to mid-October


Ponds, lakes, and slow streams with vegetation.


2 to 3 long



This is a large, common dragonfly. It is 2 to 3 long, averaging 3 long.

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 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. The second segment (S2) it the last segment to fade. Immature individuals of both sexes have brownish-red abdomens.

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.


No similar species

Naiad 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.

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.


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

They perch vertically.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 16, 18, 24.


This is the most common darner in North America.



Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)






Anisoptera (dragonflies)






Aeshnidae (darners)




common green darner









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.

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    



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    


  common green darner    





  Common Green Darner
  Common Green Darner  

Copyright DianesDigitals

  Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
Bill Keim
  Common Green Darner (Anax junius)  
  Anax junius (Green Darner)
Allen Chartier
  Anax junius (Green Darner)  
  Common Green Darner
Victor Fazio
  Common Green Darner  
Ed McAskill

Uploaded on Sep 18, 2011






Visitor Videos

Share your video of this insect.

  "Cyclopean Looking Dragonfly Head"
Dan W. Andree

Published on Mar 7, 2016

Interesting head markings on this dragonfly especially up close.


Other Videos

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

Published on May 28, 2012

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (28 May 2012).

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

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

Uploaded on Aug 27, 2011

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

Victor Trapp

Published on May 5, 2013






Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this insect.

Kirk Nelson

Location: Sunfish Lake Park, Lake Elmo, MN

common green darner

Dan W. Andree

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

Location: Orono, MN

seen by our neighbor. Beautiful creature.

common green darner

Chris Blowers

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

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.



Agassiz Dunes SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA
North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

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

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
Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area
Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Moose Lake State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA
North Unit
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

Pilot Knob

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Plover Prairie
East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

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

Roscoe Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Sedan Brook SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Prairie Preserve

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

William O’Brien State Park

Woodland Trails Park

Zimmerman Prairie




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