Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Aeshna tuberculifera  Walker, 1908
Black-tipped Darner


Aeshnidae, Darner Family

The mosaic darners of the genus Aeshna (aka blue darners) are large, strong-flying dragonflies with late-season flight periods. Most are similar to each other in size and general coloration, so in-hand examination is usually necessary to identify them. The most important distinguishing characteristics for this genus are the shapes and colors of the pale stripes on the sides of the thorax, especially the first or anterior stripes (here referred to as anterior thoracic side stripes [ATSS]), and the shapes of the cerci (upper pair of claspers) at the tip of the abdomen (whether paddle type or wedge type). Other marks that are often helpful include the presence/absence of a black line across the face, and the sizes of the pale spots on top of the abdominal segments (S), including the presence/absence of a spot on S10. Refer to the images of Aeshna species on the species pages of this website to compare shapes of thoracic side stripes and consult any dragonfly field guide for illustrations of the claspers (some guides are listed in the Resources Section).

Status-Global/State:

Global: G4     Wisconsin: S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This large, slender, dark-appearing darner has straight anterior side stripes on the thorax that are usually a beautiful bluish-green in both genders. It is distinguished from other mosaic darners in having abdominal segment 10 (S10) entirely dark with no pale markings. Males have paddle-type claspers. Females usually look much like males in color and in having a narrow waist (these are andromorphs, heteromorph females with pale colors yellow-green are common among most mosaic darners but are uncommon in this species). Female's cerci are unusually long and pointed.

Description of Habitat/Range:

This species is found throughout southern Canada and much of the northern United States. It is relatively uncommon but widely distributed throughout Wisconsin. Preferred habitats are lakes and ponds in forested areas, especially acidic ponds with some bog vegetation; also well-vegetated slow streams. Often seen in single-species or mixed-species feeding swarms.

Flight Season:

Late June to early October in Wisconsin.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
2%
(2)
17%
(22)
45%
(57)
34%
(43)
3%
(4)
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 black-tipped darner
Male black-tipped darner. © Dan Jackson

Male black-tipped darner
Photo of Male black-tipped darner
Male black-tipped darner. © Dan Jackson

Male black-tipped darner
Photo of Male black-tipped darner
Male black-tipped darner. © Ryan Brady

Male black-tipped darner
Photo of Female black-tipped darner
Female black-tipped darner. © Dan Jackson

Female black-tipped darner
Photo of Female black-tipped darner
Female black-tipped darner. © Dan Jackson

Female black-tipped darner
Photo of Female black-tipped darner
Female black-tipped darner. © R. DuBois

Female black-tipped darner
Photo of Ovipositing female black-tipped darner
Ovipositing female black-tipped darner. © Dan Jackson

Ovipositing female black-tipped darner



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