Minnesota Dragonfly

Back-tipped Darner

Aeshna tuberculifera

The Black-tipped Darner is a dark mosaic darner with thin blue thoracic stripes and small blue abdominal spots except segment 10 which is all black. They are found in the Great Lakes region, North Eastern United States and Southern Canada. There is also a second population found on the South West Coast of Canada

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 3.0 inches
  • Dark colored darner, typically with blue-green thoracic and abdominal markings
  • Very little to no facial markings
  • The T-spot on the top of the face widens at the base of the T
  • Thoracic side stripes are straight and medium width
  • Thoracic side stripes may extend slightly at the top
  • Abdomen constricts at segment 3
  • Small blue abdominal spots
  • Abdominal segment 10 is all black
  • Paddle style claspers

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Polymorphic form is blue and looks very similar to the males
  • Abdomen constricts at segment 3
  • Heteromorphic female form has yellow abdominal spots and is more rare
  • Female has long cerci, easily longer than segments 9 and 10 combined, that look similar to the male appendages

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

The Black-tipped Darner differs from most other Mosaic Darners because it has no blue markings on abdominal segment 10.

Shadow Darner: Often male Shadow Darners have little or no marking on segment 10. To distinguish between Shadow Darners with no black on segment 10 and Black-tipped Darners you can compare the following features.

The Shadow Darner typically has a more extensive flag coming off of the top of the thoracic stripes, often making them look like a pair of sevens, than the Black-striped Darner has.

The Shadow Darner has wedge shaped claspers with a small downward pointing spike. The Black-tipped Darner has a more paddle shaped claspers with no spike

Occasionally other Mosaic Darner females will not have any marking on segment 10 but they do not match the other Black-tipped Darner field markings

Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Natural History

Behavior

Males patrol the shorelines of lakes and ponds driving away intruders. May prey on slightly smaller darners such as Canada Darners. In the evening they can often be found as part of a feeding swarm.

Habitat

Acidic lakes and ponds in forested areas typically with boggy vegetation, and slow moving streams with plenty of vegetation.

Reproduction

Blue-form females often mimic the behavior of males before they are ready to mate. This may help limit harassment from the males. Eggs are inserted into vegetation often above the water level or floating on the top. Eggs can also be laid in the mud with the female inserting her abdomen up to her wings in the mud

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.