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Taper-tailed Darner



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Gomphaeschna antilope

Hagen, 1874


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Aeshnoidea
Family Aeshnidae
Genus Gomphaeschna
Species antilope (Hagen, 1874) [Aeschna]


Identification

This small dark darner has green eyes in life and the costal margin of the wings are yellow. The first and third or fourth antenodal crossveins are usually thickened and there is a single bridge crossvein. The middle half of the female forewing is generally tinte d amber. The posterior abdominal segments in the male have green spots and the middle abdominal segments in the female each have white spots laterally and brown-orange spots dorsally. The cerci in the male are flattened abruptly at about 1/3 their length, forming a distinct inferior angle not present in Harlequin Darner (G. furcillata).

Size

Total length: 53-60 mm; abdomen: 38-46 mm; hindwing: 30-37 mm.

Similar Species

Harlequin Darner is similar, but not as dark or dull in overall color. The male abdomen is not tapered in Harlequin Darner. The lateral spots on the middle abdominal segments and the dorsal spots on segments 2-3 are rusty orange in Taper-tailed Darner.

Habitat

Shallow sphagnum bogs and swamps.

Discussion

Females lay eggs in wet wood just above the water line. This species is unusual among darners in that it readily perches on tree trunks. Feeding swarms are not uncommon and are usually made up entirely of males.

Distribution

Southeastern U.S. from New Hampshire south to Florida and west to Louisiana.