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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide

Image of An adult male subarctic darner.Zoom+ An adult male subarctic darner. © Allen Barlow

Subarctic darner

Aeshna subarctica

Species Group: Invertebrate

Conservation Status

State: Special Concern



Approximately 2.8”, the subarctic darner is a large-sized dragonfly. Their bright, yellow face has a black cross line and short eye seam. Their brown thorax displays yellow and blue stripes that become more spotted across their black abdomen. Male and female subarctic darners are similar in appearance with females having a more robust abdomen.

Image of Range of the subarctic darner in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the subarctic darner in New Jersey.


This species reaches the southern-most end of its range in northern New Jersey. Currently, the subarctic darner has only been found in Sussex County inhabiting swamps, bogs, and fens with abundant mosses.


Nymphs eat a wide variety of aquatic insects and even very small fish and tadpoles. The adult’s diet mainly consists of soft-bodied flying insects like mosquitoes.


The darner is active early June to early October. Females oviposit their eggs on sphagnum, mosses, and sedges along the waterline.


Due to its limited range and scarcity of habitat the subarctic darner is considered a species of Special Concern in New Jersey.

Text derived from the book, Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey. 2009. By Allen E. Barlow, David M. Golden and Jim Bangma. Edited and updated by Karena Di Leo in 2011.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
       Class: Insecta
          Order: Odonata
             Family: Aeshnidae
                Genus: Aeshna
                   Species: A. subarctica

Find Related Info: Invertebrates, Special concern

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