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Montana Field Guides

Subarctic Darner - Aeshna subarctica

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Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2

Agency Status
USFWS: none
USFS: none
BLM: none
FWP Conservation Tier: none





 

General Description
The Subarctic Darner is circumboreal in its distribution, but is a fairly uncommonly occurring member of the family Aeshnidae found in isolated mountainous regions of Montana and is a species of concern. Darners are among the largest and fastest-flying North American dragonflies. Preferred breeding habitat of the Subarctic Darner is in swamps, fens, and bog ponds with a clear vegetative edge of abundant sphagnum and other mosses (Dunkle 2000, Paulson 2009). Similar to the Sedge Darner with black face line present, but lateral thoracic stripes are bent forward and have 2 narrow yellow spots present between the stripes.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Similar to the Sedge Darner with black face line present, but lateral thoracic stripes are bent forward and have 2 narrow yellow spots present between the stripes.

General Distribution
Montana Range


 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 3

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)


Distribution Comments
The Subarctic Darner is circumboreal in it's distribution, occurring throughout central and northern Europe, Eurasia and Japan (Dunkle 2000, Paulson 2009). In Montana, this species is currently known only from Mud Lake near Skalkaho Pass, Granite Co., though it probably occurs in other boreal areas of western Montana (Miller and Gustafson 1996).


Habitat
The Subartic Darner breeds in swamps, fens, and bog ponds with a clear vegetative edge of abundant sphagnum and other mosses (Dunkle 2000, Paulson 2009).

Food Habits
Larvae feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp. They will also eat very small fish and tadpoles. Adult- The dragonfly will eat almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, small moths, mayflies, and flying ants or termites.

Reproductive Characteristics
Male Subarctic Darners are only territorial at low population densities and do not patrol regular routes. They fly over open water and floating sphagnum mats, hover for a period then continue on to another floating mat. Females oviposit in mosses and sedges at the waterline at the edge of open water (Dunkle 2000, Paulson 2009).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Subarctic Darner — Aeshna subarctica.  Montana Field Guide.  Retrieved on August 28, 2010, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_IIODO14170.aspx
 
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