I love dragonflies for their aerial acrobatics, beautiful colors and ancient presence — they’ve flown Earth’s skies for about 300 million years. In Minnesota, a few species of large, colorful dragonflies are active into October. Last week I found a darner (Aeshna) dragonfly sunning itself on a nearby cabin.
Called darners for the resemblance of their long abdomen to a darning needle, the blue or mosaic darners can be confusing to tell apart. I believe the one I photographed is a lake darner (Aeshna eremita), based on the notched side stripe, the vivid greenish-blue jewel-like coloration of the stripes, its length (about three inches) and its vertical perching position. It flew away before I could get close enough to see its facial markings. Lake darners are native to Canada and the northern United States, and are the largest species of North American darner. They prey on mosquitoes, wasps, mayflies and most other kinds of soft-bodied insects.
The Dragonfly Website includes a great overview of dragonfly facts in its “Frequently Asked Questions” section.
ARKive.org features a profile and photos of the lake darner, along with thousands of other plant and animal species.