Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Nasiaeschna pentacantha  (Rambur, 1842)
Cyrano Darner

Aeshnidae, Darner Family

The single species in this genus occurs in eastern North America and is characterized by a stocky build and projecting forehead.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S3S4    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The forehead of both genders projects forward about one-third the length of the head forming an unmistakable profile (hence its common name after the literary character Cyrano de Bergerac). The thorax is brown with green thoracic side stripes, the first (anterior) of which is jaggedly notched; the abdomen is complexly patterned. The female's abdomen is stout and cylindrical with very short cerci at the tip. The combination of blue eyes and brown and green body coloration distinguishes it from all mosaic darners. Use prominent forehead shape and complexly patterned abdomen to separate Cyrano darner from swamp darner.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout eastern United States and southeastern Canada, this species inhabits slow swampy streams, lake coves, and ponds, usually in forested landscapes. Widespread but usually not common at any given site in Wisconsin, records are scattered throughout the state. Nymphs are typically associated with submerged wood.

Flight Season:

Early June to late August throughout the eastern United States. Adults are usually seen in Wisconsin from early June to early July.

Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male Cyrano darner
Male Cyrano darner. © Dan Jackson

Male Cyrano darner
Photo of Male Cyrano darner
Male Cyrano darner. © Dan Jackson

Male Cyrano darner
Photo of Close-up of Cyrano darner
Close-up of Cyrano darner. © Dan Jackson

Close-up of Cyrano darner
Photo of Ovipositing female Cyrano darner
Ovipositing female Cyrano darner. © Dan Jackson

Ovipositing female Cyrano darner

This site is produced in conjunction with the Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Inventory and sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The information presented on this site is subject to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Legal Notices, Disclaimers, and Terms of Use.