Green Darner Dragonfly

Washington State Insect

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Green darner dragonflies in flight - photo © Henry Detwiler / Southwest Birders (used by permission).

Green Darner Dragonfly

Washington designated the green darner dragonfly (Anax junius Drury) as the official state insect in 1997. Native to North America, the green darner is one of the largest and fastest-flying dragonflies. The green darner dragonfly is also called "darning needle," "Mosquito Hawk," and "Lord of June."

Seen in early spring through fall, the green darner dragonfly is easy to identify with its large size (body length of 2 ¼" to 3 ½"), silvery iridescent wings, bulbous compound eyes, and its emerald green thorax with a stripe of deep garnet running down the middle of a blue abdomen. The green darner is one of 38 species of dragonflies common in the United States and Southern Canada.

The adult green darner dragonfly is a strong flier - its pattern of movement is in a fast straight line with double backs of "back and forth." Its' wings move in synchronization. Green Darners feed on many insects that are harmful to humans and the environment, especially mosquitoes.

Adult green darners catch and eat insects on the wing - they are excellent aerial hunters due to their tremendous flying speed and incredible eyesight. They have powerful jaws to tear apart and chew up their prey. Green darner nymphs are also carnivorous, usually eating aquatic insects, tadpoles, and very small fish.

Washington

Images

Green darner dragonflies rest on vegetation near body of water - photo © Henry Detwiler / Southwest Birders (used by permission).

Videos

Common Green Darner Dragonfly (Aeshnidae: Anax junius) Female, Close-up