Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

I spotted a Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros) during a photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 02 June 2014. This individual is a female, shown laying eggs (oviposition) in mud alongside a vernal pool.

Richard Orr, renowned expert on odonates of the mid-Atlantic region, shared several interesting factoids about Darners and Swamp Darners during “Advanced Dragonfly Studies,” a recent Audubon Naturalist Society Adult Class and Field Trip:

  • Petaltails (Petaluridae) were once thought to be the oldest family of dragonflies; recent genetic studies have shown that Darners (Aeshnidae) are the most primitive family.
  • Darners have the most complex compound eyes in the insect world.
  • Swamp Darner eggs can survive for up to a year without water, in case the vernal pool (where the female laid her eggs) evaporates during summer.

All female damselflies and many female dragonflies, especially Aeschnidae, have an ovipositor that is used to puncture aquatic plants, logs, wet mud, etc.; eggs are placed singly in the puncture. The ovipositor is clearly visible in all of the following photos.

Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.

  • Genus Epiaeschna | Epiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | top view
  • Genus Epiaeschna | Epiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | side view

See also Swamp Darner Ovipositing in Rotting Log (NJ, USA), an excellent YouTube video published on June 5, 2014, shot from the edge of a vernal pool located in New Jersey.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)”

  1. Robley Hood Says:

    Fascinating. I had not heard the information about darners being the most primitive family. Beautiful photographs too!

  2. Charlie@Seattle Trekker Says:

    This is some of the best macro photography I have seen on any blog, it is amazing.

  3. Top 10 Photos of 2014 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 02 JUN 2014 | HMP | Swamp Darner dragonfly (female) […]

  4. Peopoll’s Choice Awards – Top 10 Photos of 2014 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 02 JUN 2014 | HMP | Swamp Darner dragonfly (female) […]

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