Minnesota Dragonfly

Stygian Shadowdragon

Neurocordulia yamaskanensis

The Stygian Shadowdragon is a medium sized brown and yellow dragonfly with black and amber patches at the base of the wings. Unlike most other species of dragonflies the Stygian Shadowdragon is mostly active at dusk and dawn and will even fly into the night


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.8 to 2.2 inches
  • Dark brown eyes with a light brown to tan face
  • Top of thorax is dark brown with a pale line running down the center from the wings to the neck
  • Brown thorax with small yellow side spot
  • Veins at the base of the wings are dark and bold with amber colored cells in between
  • Dark brown abdomen with yellow rings dividing segments 2 through 8
  • Yellow side spots on abdominal segments 4 through 8
  • Uniquely shaped dark terminal appendages

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Often less amber in the wing patches than the males
  • Abdomen is lighter brown on top than males with larger yellow side spots that are visible from above
  • Subgenital plate is small tubular shaped opening

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


The term Stygian is a reference to the River Styx which the ancient Greeks believed flowed into the land of the dead. Today, Stygian is often used as another word for darkness. This is an appropriate name, in this case, as the Stygian Shadowdragon spends most of the day resting in dense shade, coming out just before dusk, to mate and feed, and typically flying into the night


Large lakes and rivers with a lot of wave motion and little shoreline vegetation. Often found around rapids or waterfalls


Mating takes place in the tree tops. Females oviposit alone at dusk, flying low and fast over the surface of the water frequently dipping their abdomen

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.