Aeshna constricta
(Lance-tipped Darner)

Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Order Description:
Family: Aeshnidae
Family Description: Darners

   Naiad- This is a large naiad with a length of 1 7/16 to 1 9/16 inches (36 to 38 mm). It is long and slender like other Darner naiads. It is mottled green and brown and has a single, rear-facing spine on each side of abdominal segments six through nine.
   Adult- This is a large dragonfly with a length of 2 5/8 to 2 15/16 inches (65 to 73 mm). The male is dark brown to brownish black. The top of the thorax behind the head is marked with two metallic green stripes. Each side of the thorax is marked with two diagonal stripes that are greenish on the bottom end and bluish towards the top; the stripes are tipped at the top with a rear-facing projection. The abdomen is marked with bright metallic blue spots and smaller greenish dots. Most females resemble the coloration of the male, but some may have greenish yellow markings instead of blue.

This species occurs from southern British Columbia east across Canada to Nova Scotia, and south to California, Kansas, and Maryland. In Idaho, it is found in the panhandle region.

This species occurs near lakes, ponds, marshes, and slow streams.

Adult Flight Season:
Early June - Early October

   Naiad- The naiad will feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp. They will also eat small fish and tadpoles.
   Adult- The dragonfly will feed on almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, moths, mayflies, and stoneflies. Most of the insects it eats are captured while flying.

Like other Darners, the naiads are active predators, and are able to swim by jet propulsion - squirting water out from the ends of their abdomens. They generally take several years to mature, and when they emerge, or change into adult dragonflies, they do so at night. This behavior probably evolved to avoid being eaten be daytime predators. Adults generally fly from early June to early October, and can often be seen flying over fields miles from water in August. Adults are able to regulate their body temperature which enables them to fly in temperatures too cold for most dragonflies. This Darner sometimes joins swarms of Variable Darners (Aeshna interrupta) over dirt roads. Although it ranges over most of the Northwest, it is not commonly spotted anywhere in Idaho or Washington.

Males establish and defend territories along the shores of ponds and marshes. After males and females mate, females fly singly, without the male attached, to lay their eggs in the stems and leaves of aquatic plants. Unlike other Darners, female Lance-tipped Darners usually lays their eggs in plant parts several feet above the waterline.

Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.

Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design/HTML by Ean Harker, 2001.