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Aeshna canadensis
Canada Darner
Family: Aeshnidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)


© Ian Lane     (Photo ID #1170)


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Distribution of Aeshna canadensis in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)
Source: (for the static map) RBCM and BCCDC 2004 ©

Species Information


Thorax stripes. The face is pale green; if a line is present, it is thin and pale brown. Blue spots mark the underside of the abdomen. Male’s thorax stripes are blue to green; upper appendages simple. Female has pale green (sometimes blue) markings. Length: ♂ 68 mm, ♀ 70 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., mid June to late October; Yukon, late June to early September.

Genus Description

Mosaic Darners are common in B.C. and the Yukon; they fly everywhere dragonflies are found. All 11 B.C. species are large and can usually be distinguished by their variations on a basic colour pattern. Generally, the body is brown, and each side of the thorax has a pair of blue, green or yellow stripes – their shape is important in identification. Look also for the colour of the face and the line across its middle. Viewed from above, the forehead bears a distinctive T-shaped mark, called the “T-spot”. The abdominal spots on males are usually blue, and on females green, yellow or blue. Male upper appendages come in three types.


Family Description

Large, swift-flying dragonflies, usually marked with blue, green or yellow. Adults hunt tirelessly for insects over ponds, lakes and streams, and wander widely in search of prey. Most species rest in a vertical position, but a few sit flat on the ground. Females have a prominent ovipositor and lay eggs in water plants or floating wood above or below the water line. Larvae are slender and sleek, with flat labia lacking bristles; they are rapacious hunters among water plants. Recently, A. californica and A. multicolor have been transferred from Aeshna to Rhionaeschna.
Field Notes

Not usually the predominant species at a locality, except on the south coast, where it can be abundant in some places. Most common in the south, rare in northern B.C. and extremely rare in the Yukon. Lives in peaty lakes, flooded beaver ponds, and sedge and cattail marshes at low and medium elevations.


Transition. Widespread B.C. and the southern Yukon.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.