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Cyrano Darner



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Nasiaeschna pentacantha

Rambur, 1842


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Aeshnoidea
Family Aeshnidae
Genus Nasiaeschna
Species pentacantha (Rambur, 1842) [Aeschna]


Identification

This is a smaller brown and green darner with a pronounced frons and brilliant blue eyes. It lacks a distinct black "T" spot. The thorax is brown with green stripes. The wings are clear and the radial planate subtends a single row of cells. The abdomen has green lateral and mid-dorsal abdominal stripes that taper posteriorly in males. These stripes are generally interrupted throughout their length. The female cerci are short, scarcel y longer than segment 10. The distinctive frons is unique among North American dragonflies. Its common name is derived on the comparison of this feature with literature's Cyrano de Bergerac.

Size

Total length: 62-73 mm; abdomen: 47-55 mm; hindwing: 45-50 mm.

Similar Species

Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros ) and Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens ) are noticeably larger with ringed abdomens. The latter also has a green thorax with brown stripes.

Habitat

Sheltered forest ponds, streams and lake coves.

Discussion

This species never seems to stray far from the protection of wooded areas. It is often seen perching or flying along forest or path edges. It doesn't engage in feeding swarms like many other darners. Males have a distinctive patrol flight where they continuously flicker their wings while flying slowly, darting at intruding dragonflies.

Distribution

Widespread throughout the eastern U.S. from Texas and Oklahoma eastward and southeastern Canada.