Green Darner Dragonfly

Common Name: Green Darner Dragonfly

Order Name: Odonata

Family Name: Aeshnidae

Dragonflies spend considerable time in flight and are aggressive insectivores with large transparent membranous wings and huge compound eyes. This Green Darner is the largest contemporary dragonfly. Fossil record expose ancient dragonflies with 28 inch wingspans. The immature stages are aquatic with gills. Adult coloration develops after emerging from the aquatic stage with the male and female displaying differentiate coloration. This native Hawaiian species with a green thorax and blue abdomen rides the thermals of Waimea Canyon after several years as an aquatic naiad. They are frequently seen in tandem mating flight, or patrolling their territory.

This close-up image reveals the beautiful compound eyes of the Hawaiian native Green Darner photographed from the mountains of Kauai.

green darner head closeup

The eye appears to have markings. At the base of each of the individual eye facets are pigmented iris cells which stop light from passing to adjacent facets. The appearance of mesmerizing dark spots in the depths of the eyes are known as pseudopupils and mark the points at which the eye is absorbing all of the light rather than reflecting it back. These eyes show multiple pseudopupils and even some color variation produced my pigmentation within in the facets.