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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Nasiaeschna Selys, 1900 - Cyrano Darner

A montypic genus, Nasiaeschna pentacantha (Rambur, 1842) appears to be locally common and restricted to the southern LP in Michigan. Until 1997, the only record from Michigan was an adult from Ingham County that lacked locality and collector information (Michigan State University collection, in Kormondy 1958). However, Ethan Bright in February 1997 identified a nymphal specimen from Newaygo County collected by the UMMZ-Fish Division in 1926, which had been placed in unsorted storage, that represented the first definite record for a breeding population in the state. Since then, several new adult and nymphal records for the LP have been added. Immatures are denizens of the edges of forested streams, widened stream sections forming lentic-like conditions, and sheltered lake bays with stream in-flows, where they cling to woody debris and leafy detrital substrates (Needham et al. 2014, Walker 1958). Based on records from Indiana (Montgomery 1947) and Canada (Walker 1958), emergence probably occurs in the second half of June.

Adults are long, slender, narrow-winged with a prominent frons, with also a prominent and bilobed vertex and carinate occiput. The thorax is brown with blue markings, the abdomen long and thin, greenish black with dorsal segmental areas bluish green divided by a dark lateral indentations. Mature nymphs are large, mophologically distinctive aeshnids. They are heavily-built, a brown to blackish animal, with the head wide in front and posteriorly narrowed, and with low but distinctive tubercles behind each eye. Seen laterally, the head slopes ventrocaudad. Femora are flattened and, like the tibia, marked with two narrow whitish cross-bars. The abdomen has steep sloping sides and a distinctive mid-dorsal ridge adorned with prominent, blunt dorsal hooks.

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


    Kormondy EJ. 1958. A catalogue of the Odonata of Michigan. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 104. 43pp.
    Montgomery BE. 1947. The distribution and relative seasonal abundance of Indiana species of five families of dragonflies (Odonata: Calopterygidae, Petaluridae, Cordulegasteridae, Gomphidae and Aeshnidae). Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences 56:163-169.
    Needham JG, Westfall MJ, May ML. 2014. Dragonflies of North America, Third Edition. Scientific Publishers: Gainesville, Florida. xvi + 657 pp.
    Rambur MP. 1842. Histoire naturelle des insectes. Névroptères. (Suites à Buffon). Roret: Paris. 534 pp.
    Selys-Longchamps ME de. 1900. In Odonaten aus Neu-Guinea. F. Förster. Termes, Füzetek 23:81-108.
    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)