Minnesota Dragonfly

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Common Green Darner

anax junius

The Common Green Darner is one of the most common and most recognized dragonflies in North America. They are one of a few species of dragonfly in North America that migrates. They are one of the earliest species of dragonflies spotted in the north each year with first sighting in April or earlier

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 3.0 inches
  • Eyes pale green below tan green above
  • Green face
  • Blue and black bulls-eye on top of frons
  • Brown legs
  • Green thorax
  • Faint unremarkable thoracic stripes
  • Blue abdomen that gets dark on segments 9 and 10
  • Small spikes on the end of the claspers
  • Immature male abdomen range in color from dull violet to maroon

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Females are colored similar to males except that their abdomen goes from a dull violet to maroon when immature, this can be the same with males, to a predominantly light grey color when mature
  • Females have a functional ovipositor with medium sized cerci, about equal in length to segments 9 and 10
  • Some females are colored the same as males

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History

Behavior

One of the few species in North America that migrate south. Many emerge in late summer and begin to migrate south in large groups. When they arrive at their southern destination they mate and lay eggs. Their offspring grow as nymphs and when they emerge they fly north, arriving and laying eggs before most other species emerge. The offspring of these darners start the process over again. Common Green Darners that do not emerge in time to migrate will mate and lay eggs in their northern territory. Their offspring will over winter as nymphs similar to other species of dragonflies that do not migrate.

Habitat

Still waters such as lakes, ponds, marshes and slow moving streams

Reproduction

Pairs lay eggs in water logged wood or aquatic vegetation while in tandem

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.

Note: Migratory green darners can be seen as early as March in Minnesota depending on the weather.