The common green darner (Anax junius) is one of the most common and widespread dragonflies in North America.
Dragonflies and damselflies have long captured people’s imagination and the animals became nicknames such as ‘snake doctors’ or ‘devil’s darning needles’. The latter explains the name of today’s species. Darners include our largest dragonflies. They have huge eyes the meet on the top of their heads. Their overall body shape might perhaps reminded people of a darning needle.
These insects spend much of their time flying, and at rest they hang vertically rather than sitting horizontally like many dragonflies. Green darners are migratory and clouds of them can be seen in spring and fall.
Green Darners are dimorphic, which means males and females look different. Both have a green thorax (middle section of body), but males have a blue abdomen (long back part of body), while females' abdomens are purplish-gray. Their bodies grow over 10 cm long, with a wingspan of 12 cm.