Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

University of Nebraska State Museum - Division of Entomology


Aeshnidae Family

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Darners are large dragonflies with long abdomens and eyes that are very large and meet in a seam on top of the head. Most Nebraska darner species show conspicuous green or blue markings on their bodies. They seem to fly or hover continuously, and when they do perch, they hang vertically from a vertical stem or a horizontal twig. Females have ovipositors with blades and thicker abdomens than males.

Green Darner
Common Green Darner male and female in "wheel"
Shadow Darner
Shadow Darner

The Common Green Darner is one of the most widespread and easily observed of our dragonflies, having an easily-identifiable green thorax and blue-and-black abdomen. The mosaic and neotropical darners (of the genera Aeshna and Rhionaeschna) have colorful diagonal stripes on the sides of the thorax and spots on the abdominal segments. In those two genera, the male's abdominal appendages can be forked (Blue-eyed), paddle-shaped (Lance-tipped, Paddle-tailed, Shadow) or simple (California, Canada, Variable). Females may be hard to identify but are similar to males in pattern and may be marked with blue, green or yellow. In contrast to the other Nebraska darners, the Fawn Darner is small and brown.

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Citation: Paseka, J. M. 2021. Nebraska dragonflies and damselflies. URL