E-Fauna BC Home

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


© Jeremy Gatten     (Photo ID #5910)


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

Species Information


The face is greenish yellow with a black line; the rear of the head is black. Thorax stripes are almost straight. The abdomen has pale spots on top of segment 10, but none underneath on any segments. Male’s stripes are yellow below and green to blue above, and its abdominal spots are blue. Females can be coloured like the male, but most have green-yellow thorax stripes and abdominal spots. Male’s upper appendages flattened. Length: ♂ 72 mm, ♀ 67 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., mid May (usually late June) to early November.

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

One of the most frequently encountered and abundant dragonflies in B.C., though not as plentiful in the far north. Lives in a wide range of habitats, but typically in lakes and ponds in or near woodlands.


Montane. Widespread throughout B.C.; restricted to southern valleys in the 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.