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

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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
  • Canada Darner has a deeper notch on front thoracic stripe and a larger spot in between thoracic stripes than the Green-striped Darner
  • Lake Darner
  • Canada Darner is smaller than the Lake Darner
  • Canada Darner has notch in front thoracic strip where Lake Darner has more of a divot
  • Lance-tipped Darner
  • Canada Darner males do not have downward spike on end of claspers like Lance-tipped Darner
  • Canada Darners do not have rear flag at top of 2nd thoracic stripe like Lance-tipped Darner
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons
  • Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons

Natural History


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.


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


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

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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.