New York Natural Heritage Program
Cyrano Darner
Nasiaeschna pentacantha (Rambur, 1842)

General Description [-]
The aspect of this darner is stockier and greener than most other Aeshna. The eyes of the male are bright blue, with a blue-green face above to dull yellow on front. The thorax is brown with jagged green stripes. The thick abdomen has a complex green and brown striped pattern (see Paulson 2011).

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
Its rather stocky body, with no waist and a projecting frons ("nose") and uniquely shaped blue abdominal markings are characteristic.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Mature adults are the best life stage for the identification of all dragonflies. Larval (exuvial) identification requires the use of detailed taxonomic keys, can be difficult and unreliable, especially in the case of larvae that are not yet mature.

Behavior [-]
Males fly regular courses 4-6 feet above open water in a fluttering style of flight. They will also cruise over clearings in the forest, but rarely perch (Jones et al., 2008; Paulson 2011).

Diet [-]
The larvae are generalist predators, while the adults feed on flying insects, incluidng other dragonflies.
The Best Time to See
Winged adults have been discovered in New York for only about one month between early-mid June to early-mid July.
Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find Cyrano Darner reproducing (blue shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)
    Cyrano has more extensive blue/ green covering the thicker abdomen and a prominent projecting frons ("nose").
  • Green-Striped Darner (Aeshna verticalis)
    In the Green-striped the forward-most stripe on the thorax is indented, but not bent in the middle. There is no black cross line on the face.