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Zigzag Darner

Aeshna sitchensis

The Zigzag Darner is a small mosaic darner of Canada and the Northern United States. It is typically found around bogs and fens later in the summer. Easily identified by its zig-zag thoracic stripes except in the far north where its range overlaps the Azure Darner which has similarly shaped thoracic stripes

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 2.4 inches
  • Brown eyes with blue highlights
  • Yellowish face with black cross line
  • Heavy T-spot with a base that curves up at the ends
  • Pale, thin, blue zig-zag shaped front thoracic stripe
  • Second thoracic strip is thin, blue and relatively straight with a flag at the top
  • Brown abdomen with a pattern of blue to purple spots that covers most of the surface
  • Paddle style claspers

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Females come in two different color forms.
  • The blue forms looks similar in color to the male except with pale blue eyes
  • The green form has blue-brown eyes, and yellow-green thoracic stripes, and yellow to white abdominal spots.
  • Females have a stockier abdomen than males

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History

Behavior

Zigzag darners tend to perch more than other types of darners. They will often perch on horizontal surfaces such as roads, rocks, logs or the ground. They also seem to be less wary than other darners and may even perch on light clothing or nets.

Habitat

Cold bog ponds and pools typically with a lot of sphagnum and shallow water

Reproduction

Pairs are not often seen together. Females lay eggs one at a time in aquatic vegetation. They can often be found perched on sphagnum mats at the edge of open water ovipositing.

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.