Black-tipped Darner

Aeshna tuberculifera

DISCRIPTION: This dragonfly looks quite similar to other darners, like the Canada, the Green-striped, and the Lance-tipped, with two broad green/blue dorsal stripes and a mottled blue abdomen. It has one distinctive feature, however, that distinguishes it from its brethren: the tip of the abdomen is entirely black.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: These darners can be found relatively frequently, cruising over fields in swarms with other darners, or hunting along the edge of water. It is rated as 'apparently secure' in New York State.




Canada Darner

Aeshna canadensis

DESCRIPTION: This large brown and green/blue darner can be a challenge to tell apart from other similar species. Its one major defining feature is a small yellow spot between the two lateral stripes (the front one of which should be notably "stepped") on its thorax.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: Although we have found only a few Canada Darners in our surveys, it is not recognized as endangered in New York. It can most often be found in late summer or early fall hunting over fields or along the shores of slow-moving bodies of water. It often takes part in late afternoon feeding swarms with other darners.




Comet Darner

Anax longipes

DESCRIPTION: This is one of the largest darners around, and is most similar in size, shape, and coloration to the Common Green Darner. It can be distinguished from this species by the bright red (as opposed to blue) male abdomens and the female’s' blue eyes.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have only seen a couple of Comet Darners, and never during an official survey. This scarcity is reflected by it having a status of S2, or "imperiled" in New York. It can be found patrolling around ponds or hunting over fields, although not in swarms like other darners.




Common Green Darner

Anax junius

DESCRIPTION: This is probably one of the most instantly recognizable darners around, and can be identified with relative ease even when on the wing. The combination of its bright green thorax and the bright blue tail in males set it apart. The only other darner that it resembles is the Comet Darner, but if there is any question a quick look at the top of the head shows that the Common Green has a distinct "Cyclopes eye", something missing from Comets.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen plenty of Common Green Darners in our surveys, and it is not endangered. It can be seen over small ponds, skimming the edges of lakes, or hunting over fields.




Fawn Darner

Boyeria vinosa

DESCRIPTION: Comparatively small for a darner, the Fawn Darner is stocky and brown in coloration, with two yellow spots on the side of the thorax.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen a few Fawn Darners, mostly in forested swamps or shaded streams.




Green-striped Darner

Aeshna verticalis

DESCRIPTION: This is a large dragonfly with a blue and black pattern on its abdomen and two green stripes on each side of its black thorax. It can be extremely hard to distinguish from other mosaic darners in the field.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Green Darners occasionally, mostly over fields in the evening feeding with other darners.




Harlequin Darner

Gomphaeschna furcillata

DESCRIPTION: This is one of the smallest darners in our area. It is mostly brown, with a complex light green/yellow pattern on its abdomen. It can appear very similar to other darners, and can be impossible to tell apart from some in the field.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have only seen four Harlequin Darners, but they are not considered endangered in New York. They can be seen feeding at the edges of forests, occasionally in swarms.




Lance-tipped Darner

Aeshna constricta

DESCRIPTION: This is a typical example of a mottled darner. It has a blue and black abdomen, and two stripes on its thorax which range from green to blue. It can be nearly impossible to distinguish from other darners in the field.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen no more than a couple of Lance-tipped Darners, although it is not considered endangered. Like other darners, it can be found patrolling over fields and ponds, or in afternoon feeding swarms.




Mottled Darner

Aeshna clepsydra

DESCRIPTION: This mosaic darner can appear superficially similar to other darners, but upon closer inspection it can be easily distinguished by the mottled pattern on the side of its thorax.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have only come across one mottled darner, although it is not endangered. It can be seen near open water or hunting over sunny fields.




Shadow Darner

Aeshna umbrosa

DESCRIPTION: This mosaic darner can be distinguished by the black outlines on its dorsal stripes and the relative dullness of its abdomen.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have only seen a few Shadow Darners (at least on record), but it is quite common in our state. It is a shade-loving species, and can often be found flying along forest edges or in feeding swarms at dusk.




Springtime Darner

Basiaechna janata

DESCRIPTION: This is a relatively small darner. It has two green dorsal stripes and can look quite similar to other mosaic darners, although its size is distinctive.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have only one recorded sighting of a Springtime Darner, but it is not endangered in New York. It can be found patrolling the edges of ponds or flying over fields. It commonly perches near the ground.




Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonates)