Minnesota Dragonfly

Ocellated Darner

Boyeria grafiana

The Ocellated Darner is one of two species of the genus Boyeria found in North America. Boyeria are often called the spotted Darners because they have bright yellow spots on their thorax instead of stripes or nothing, like most other Darners

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 2.6 inches
  • Eyes tan below, brown above with a green tint, tan face
  • Triangular top to 'T' spot on top of frons
  • Thin green stripes on front of thorax
  • Grayish brown thorax with two bright yellow oval spots, surrounded by dark brown, and additional yellow spots and abdominal segment 2
  • Little to no black at the base of the wings
  • Yellow spots at the base of the abdomen
  • Yellow top spots and dark rings separating abdominal segments with yellow triangles in the middle of segments 3 to 8
  • Segments 9 and 10 are pale. Dark terminal appendages, including a dark epiproct

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

Fawn Darner: There are only two species of Spotted Darners, genus Boyeria, found in North America. They are the Ocellated Darner and the Fawn Darner. Both species are brown in color with two bright yellow dots on each side of the thorax.

  • The differences between the species are:
  • The Ocellated Darner has more of a grey tint to the brown while the Fawn Darner is more of a tannish brown hue
  • The spots on the thorax of the Ocellated Darner are thinner and more of an oval shape where the dots on the Fawn Darner are thicker and more rounded
  • The Ocellated Darner has little to no black at the base of the wings where the Fawn Darner has small black patches at the base of the wings
  • The Ocellated Darner has yellow triangles on top of the abdomen in between pairs of yellow top spots while the Fawn Darner has only spots with no triangles on top of the abdomen
  • The Ocellated Darner has a dark epiproct while the Fawn Darner has a pale epiproct
Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Natural History

Behavior

Ocellated Darner typically spend much of the day roosting in forest shadows. They may be seen flying beginning in the late afternoon, especially when it is over cast and cooler. They are most active at twilight and fly well past sunset. Males patrol streams and rivers, typically flying rapidly low over the open water. Males are territorial and will often chase other males up and down the river

Habitat

Clear streams and rivers with plenty of large boulders and a swift current

Reproduction

Mating and egg laying typically happens in the dark

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.