Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Boyeria grafiana  Williamson, 1907
Ocellated Darner

Aeshnidae, Darner Family
Possible Species

The spotted darners (genus Boyeria) are mid-sized, cryptically brown-colored denizens of forested streams and the windswept rocky shores of large lakes. They typically fly low and late in the day. Wisconsin is known to be home to one species, but a second occurs in nearby areas of neighboring states and may also occur here.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: SQ    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This nondescript brownish species with a pair of yellow spots on each side of the thorax is very similar to the fawn darner, but can be separated from that species by the following marks: ocellated darner lacks small brown spots at the bases of the wings that fawn darner possesses, and the yellow spots along the sides of the abdomen characteristic of both species are larger on ocellated darner. Additionally, the base color of the abdomen of ocellated darner is grayish-brown versus the characteristic tawny brown of fawn darner. Even in flight the grayer tone of the ocellated darner is noticeable as is the greater amount of yellow on the abdomen. The genders are similar in appearance.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, this species prefers moderately-flowing, shaded, rocky forest streams and rivers, and occasionally large lakes with rocky, windswept shorelines. Throughout its range, ocellated darner is less common than fawn darner and has a spotty distribution that appears to be associated with granitic landscapes. It is not known from Wisconsin, but is common in the rocky streams along the Lake Superior coast of Minnesota as far south as Duluth; also known from streams on Isle Royale of Michigan.

Flight Season:

Early June to early October range-wide.

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 Female ocellated darner
Female ocellated darner. © Jim Lind

Photo of Female ocellated darner
Female ocellated darner. © Jim Lind

Photo of Top view of teneral ocellated darner
Top view of teneral ocellated darner. © June Tveekrem

Photo of Side view of teneral ocellated darner
Side view of teneral ocellated darner. © June Tveekrem

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