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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Shadow Darner, Aeshna umbrosa

The shadow darner (Aeshna umbrosa) is a species of dragonfly that can be found in the United States and Canada, in a range that includes the states of California, Colorado, Vermont, and Washington in the United States and Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia in Canada, among many other areas. Like other species of dragonfly, it guards a territory of water and vegetation in marshy areas, but it can also be found in woodlands and heavily forested areas.

The adult shadow darner reaches a length between about two and three inches and is typically brownish-black in color. The body holds many markings that are blue, green, and yellow in color. This species holds two subspecies.

The shadow darner can be seen between the months of April to November, later in in the year than many other species of dragonfly. It is capable of regulating its body temperature, which allows it to live in colder habitats than other dragonflies. Adults of this species feed on many soft-bodied insects including moths, flies, butterflies, and mosquitoes. After breeding, females will lay their eggs in vegetation located near a water source. When the eggs hatch, the resulting naiads will enter the water and develop for several years, feeding on the larvae of other water dwelling insects and even freshwater shrimp.

Image Caption: Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa), female, Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa