Posts Tagged ‘Epiaeschna heros’

Swamp Darner dragonfly (female, oviposition)

June 19, 2014

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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Swamp Darner dragonfly (male)

June 26, 2012

The following gallery shows a Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros) spotted during a photowalk along the “Hike-Bike Trail” at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages. (Notice the “brushes” on the inner sides of the cerci.)

According to Odonata Central, Dragonfly Society of the Americas …

This [very] large common species has brilliant blue eyes and a brown body with green thoracic stripes and narrow green abdominal rings. The wings are often heavily tinged with amber. … The caudal appendages are long in both sexes. The male appendages are complex and distinctly hairy [as shown in Photo 4 of 4].

This individual was so long from head to tail it was virtually impossible to zoom in to show detail while showing the entire dragonfly.

Since Swamp Darner dragonflies perch vertically, the photos in the preceding gallery were rotated 180 degrees in order to create face-on views of the dragonfly, shown below in the same order as the first gallery.

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

  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | male | top view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | male | side view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | top view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | side view

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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