Minnesota Dragonfly

Swamp Darner

Epiaeschna heros

The Swamp Darner is one of the largest dragonflies in North America. They are predominantly dark brown with green stripes on the thorax and abdomen and blue eyes. They often are found in large swarms feeding on flying insects at dusk


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 3.1 to 3.7 inches
  • Face dark brown with blue crossline and blue line at mouth
  • Green dots on the top of the frons
  • Blue eyes
  • Brown thorax with two straight thoracic stripes and a green spot in between
  • Black legs
  • Dark brown abdomen with two or three thin green rings on each segment
  • Wedge style claspers that are very hairy. Cerci over twice as long as squared off epiproct

Click on photos above for a close-up view.


Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Face brown with pale crossline and line at mouth
  • Eyes are less blue then male's, with more green and brown mixed in
  • Female's abdomen is thicker then the male's
  • Terminal appendages are slightly longer than segments 9 and 10 combined

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Males do not seem to patrol or defend territories. Often seen in swarms at dusk feeding on flying insects. Strong flier that can be found flying anywhere from near to the ground to above tree level


Swamps, slow heavily wooded streams and ponds


Mating often occurs away from the water. Females lay eggs in mud or dead wood sometimes well above the water line

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.