Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

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Epiaeschna Hagen, 1877 - Swamp Darner

A montypic genus, Epiaeschna heros (Fabricius, 1799) is probably one of largest odonate of our region. Adults are brown and with a green-striped thorax and a green-ringed, long tapering abdomen with long cerci, these strong fliers are not uncommon but are sometimes difficult to catch. Immatures are found in ponds and lakes, often with much aquatic vegetation. Walker (1958) found nymphs in a shaded pond a few yards inside a wood lot in Ontario, whereas Williamson (1903) collected the species in Tennessee from ditches and marshes associated with chimney-building crayfish. Morphologically similar to Nasiaeschna in regards to the mid-dorsal abdominal ridge, E. heros differs from that monotypic genus in the lack of middorsal abdominal hooks. Adults emerge from June through early July, and may fly in large swarms. Records of nymphs are known only from the LP, although adults - which are strong flyers - have been found in the UP. O'Brien (2014) was able to definitely state that the species breeds and overwinters as nymphs in southern Michigan.

Taxonomic references (Needham et al. 2014, Paulson 2011, Walker 1958)


    Fabricius JC. 1798. Supplementum entomologiae systematicae, pp. 283-285. Proft. (Schubothe), Hafniae.
    Needham JG, Westfall MJ, May ML. 2014. Dragonflies of North America, Third Edition. Scientific Publishers: Gainesville, Florida. xvi + 657 pp.
    Paulson D. 2011. Dragonflies and damselflies of the East. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press, Pinceton, New Jersey, USA. 538 p.
    Hagen, H. A. 1877. Synopsis of the Odonata of America. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History 18:86.
    O'Brien MF. 2014. Epiaeschna heros (Swamp Darner) in Michigan - A Mystery No Longer. Argia 26(2):8-9.
    Walker EM. 1958. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press: Toronto. xii + 318.
    Williamson EB. 1903. The dragonflies (Odonata) of Tennessee, with a few records for Virginia and Alabama. Entomological News 14:221-229.

Page last edited: February 28, 2017 (EB)