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Paddle-tailed Darner



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Aeshna palmata

Hagen, 1856


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Aeshnoidea
Family Aeshnidae
Genus Aeshna
Species palmata Hagen, 1856 [Aeshna]
Syn Aeschna arida Kennedy, 1918


Identification

This is a widespread common species in the west. A dark cross-stripe is usually present on the face. The broad, lateral thoracic stripes are straight throughout their length and green or blue above fading to yellow below. There is a pale vertical stripe on abdominal segment 1. Pale spots on the abdomen are blue in the male with abdominal segment 10 generally bearing two well-separated pale spots. Females usually have greenish-yellow thoracic and abdominal stripes and spots. M ore rarely these are blue.

Size

Total length: 65-73 mm; abdomen: 47-57 mm; hindwing: 42-46 mm.

Similar Species

Shadow (A. umbrosa ) and Lance-tipped (A. constricta ) Darners are similar but lack the dark stripe on the front of the face and a pale lateral stripe on segment 1. Persephone's Darner (A. persephone ) has broad yellow lateral thoracic stripes and abdominal segment 10 is mostly black. Females are not easily separated from those of several other mosaic darners.

Habitat

Lakes, ponds and slow streams with partial shade.

Discussion

Though this is often a locally abundant species, little has been written about its behavior. It may hunt low to the ground along wooded edges up until dusk and females lay eggs in grass blades up to three feet above the water line.

Distribution

Western North America from Alaska south and westward to Nebraska and New Mexico.