Giant Darner Dragonfly

Genus: Anax
Species: walsinghami

Giant Darner Dragonfly by Pierre Deviche

Description:  The giant darner dragonfly is the largest dragonfly in the United States. It can grow to 5 inches long with a 5 inch wingspan.

Giant darner dragonflies have a green head and thorax. The head and thorax are the first two segments of the body. Together, they make up less than a third of the total length of the dragonfly. 

On top of the thorax are the two sets of wings. The wings are clear and you can see the black structural veins throughout.

The final segment of the giant darner dragonfly is the abdomen. The abdomen has large bright, metallic blue spots all over. The abdomen is long (over two-thirds of the body length) and has a slight downward curve. Most people identify the giant darner dragonfly by its size and blue abdomen.

Even though you shouldn’t have trouble identifying a giant darner dragonfly, the real trick is getting a photo of one!  Giant darner dragonflies are rarely seen resting. They move so quickly over the surface of the water that by the time you see one and pull out your camera, it’s gone!

Range: Look for giant darner dragonflies around ponds, streams and marshes in the Southwest.

  • Fun Fact
    Even though giant darner dragonflies have a long abdomen, you shouldn’t worry about being stung! They do not sting and they are completely harmless. In fact, they eat a lot of smaller insects we consider pests, like mosquitoes.

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