Sunday, September 14, 2014

Common Green Darner

This dragonfly is a juvenal Common Green Darner. The tail is violet-brown in both the immature and in the female.  The male’s tail is blue. In both sexes, the bull’s eye pattern in front of the eyes is diagnostic.

Thousands (if not more) Common Green Darners migrate south across Minnesota and other parts of the northern United States and Canada. When they arrive in the South, they reproduce. The following generation flies back north the next spring. Then they breed, often before overwintering species emerge. After the resultant larva emerge, the young darners once again head south (Mead 2009).

Common Green Darners appear to be fairly cold tolerant. I took this individual out of my bird net on a very chilly Thursday evening—the temperature was in the lower 60s F.  I placed the dragonfly on our patio table. Instead of flying, the darner violently shivered for about 5 minutes. You may notice the wings in the lower photo are blurred. In this way, the arthropod gained body heat. When I looked out next, the dragonfly had flown.

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