Minnesota Dragonfly

Canada Darner

Aeshna canadensis

The Canada Darner is probably the most common blue, or mosaic, darner found in Minnesota. Males are primarily blue and black in color, but can also be green and black or a combination of blue/green and black. Females come in either a typical green form or an uncommon blue form, which resembles the males

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 2.8 inches
  • Eyes blue above, bluish green below
  • Face pale bluish green
  • Thoracic stripes can be blue, green or a combination with blue at top and green at the bottom
  • Front stripe on the side of the thorax is distinctly notched with a rear extention at the top
  • Medium sized oval spot in between the two stripes on the side of the thorax
  • Moderate sized blue spots on the top of the abdomen
  • Paddle style claspers

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Eyes blue over brown
  • Thoracic stripes green, shaped same as males
  • Green spots on abdomen
  • Functional ovipositor
  • Uncommon blue-form female resembles male

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

Green-striped Darner: These two species are difficult to differentiate between unless you have the specimen in hand. Male Canada Darner's thorax are often blue compared to the green thorax of the green-striped but this is not always the case. Females of both species are typically mostly green

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

Lake Darner: Although the Lake Darner is larger than the Canada Darner they still look very similar, especially in flight or at a distance. Both species are similar in color with males typically blue and black and female green and black. Both species also have similar looking thoracic stripes and abdominal spots

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

Lance-tipped Darner: Canada Darners and Lance-tipped Darners are the same size. With a variety of different colored forms and similar shaped thoracic stripes it is difficult to distinguish between the two species especially in flight or from a distance.

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

Natural History

Behavior

Males spend much of their time in flight defending a territory of around 20 to 60 feet. In the evening they will often group together in feeding swarms. These swarms often include several different species of darners and possibly other species such as saddlebags or gliders. At night they typically perch hanging from the branches of trees or bushes.

Habitat

Often associated with boggy lakes, beaver ponds, and slow streams with an abundance of emergent vegetation.

Reproduction

Mating typically occurs in bushes near the water. Females oviposit eggs one at a time into plant stems, algae and moss typically in marshy areas along the shoreline

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.