Aeshna tuberculifera

Black-Tipped Darner

Family: Libellulidae

Length: typically 73-80 mm


The Black-Tipped Darner is a member of the Mosaic Darner genus, Aeshna. Mosaic Darners are notoriously difficult to identify to species. When it comes to the Black-Tipped Darner, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a fool-proof way to determine if the darner youre watching is a Black-Tipped. The bad news is, this fool proof way involves looking very closely at a tiny part of the darners anatomy. The additional bad news is that darners rarely perch.

If you can find a sleeping or ovipositing Mosaic Darner, look at the very short, final abdominal segment. If it has no spots, the dragonfly is a Black-Tipped Darner.

Black-Tipped Darner, Aeshna tuberculiferaAmong other characteristics, the Black-Tipped Darner has two relatively broad and straight stripes on each side of its thorax. The face is green.

Females are similar to males, but have a large ovipositor.

The Black-Tipped Darner does well in acidic places. In olden times this meant sphagnum bogs. Today, coal mine settlement ponds provide other hospitable, acidic bodies of water for Aeshna tuberculiferaproviding the water isn't too acidic.

Black-Tipped Darner, Aeshna tuberculifera
An ovipositing Black-Tipped Darner. Notice the scars left on the cattail leaf. 


Black-Tipped Darner, Aeshna tuberculifera
A closer look at those oviposition scars, and at the all-important abdominal segment number ten (the last one) which has no spots. Note, too, the damage to one blade of the ovipositor from hard use! 

Insects of West Virginia