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Aeshna constricta
Lance-Tailed Darner; Lance-Tipped Darner
Family: Aeshnidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)


© George Doerksen     (Photo ID #1028)


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Distribution of Aeshna constricta 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 usually yellow-green below and blue above (but on some females are all yellow); shape shown in figure. The face is pale green with a thin, pale brown line, or no line at all. Females have blue, green or yellow abdominal spots; segment 9 is longer than segment 8; the ovipositor and appendages are unusually large, the former extending well past the end of segment 9. Male’s upper appendages flattened. Length: ♂ 71 mm, ♀ 69 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., early July to mid October.

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

Rare at small ponds and open, warm, nutrient-rich marshes dominated by cattails and bulrushes; sometimes develops in waters that dry up in summer. Its preference for habitats that are often threatened by human development make it vulnerable. Female Lance-tipped Darners, like their Black-tipped counterparts, lay eggs in vegetation well above the waterline.


Transition. In the valleys of the southern interior, north to about 51°N.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS2S3BlueNot Listed

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