Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Gomphaeschna furcillata  (Say, 1839)
Harlequin Darner

Aeshnidae, Darner Family
"Most Wanted" Species

There are two species in the genus of pygmy darners (Gomphaeschna), both of which occur in eastern North America, and one is infrequently found in Wisconsin. The genus is characterized by small size (for a darner), thorax heavily patterned with pale marks, and the male epiproct being forked (unique among darners).


Global: G5     Wisconsin: SU    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The male is characterized by relatively small size, green eyes, irregular pale green thoracic markings, green and rusty orange (may look golden) abdominal markings, and a forked epiproct. The female is similarly but more lightly colored, and has short, narrow cerci.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found throughout the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, this species inhabits shallow, wooded bog ponds (often with Sphagnum mosses) and alder or cedar swamps and ditches. Preferred habitats may be spring-fed. In Wisconsin, it is known from only a handful of sites in the northern and central counties.

Flight Season:

Late May to early July in northern part of its range.

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 harlequin darner
Male harlequin darner. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male harlequin darner
Male harlequin darner. © Jim Lind

Photo of Male appendages of harlequin darner
Male appendages of harlequin darner. © Jim Lind

Photo of Female harlequin darner
Female harlequin darner. © Dan Jackson

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