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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Odonatoptera
Cladus: Holodonata
Ordo: Odonata
Subordo: Epiprocta
Infraordo: Anisoptera
Superfamilia: Aeshnoidea

Familia: Aeshnidae
Subfamiliae: Aeshninae - Brachytroninae

Genera incertae sedis: †Huncoaeshna

Aeshnidae Rambur, 1842

Nel, A.; Petrulevičius, J.F. 2010: Afrotropical and Nearctic genera of Odonata in the French Oligocene: biogeographic and paleoclimatic implications (Insecta: Calopterygidae, Aeshnidae). Annales de la Société entomologique de France (n.s.), 46: 228–236. ISSN: 0037-9271 [not seen]
Petrulevičius, J.F.; Nel, A.; Voisin, J.-F. 2010: A new genus and species of darner dragonfly (Aeshnidae: Odonata) from the lower Eocene of Laguna del Hunco, Patagonia, Argentina. Annales de la Société entomologique de France (n.s.), 46: 271–275. ISSN: 0037-9271

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Edellibellen
français: Æschnidés
magyar: Karcsú acsafélék
日本語: ヤンマ科
한국어: 왕잠자리과
Nederlands: Glazenmakers
polski: żagnicowate
русский: Коромысла

The Aeshnidae, also called aeshnids, hawkers, or darners, is a family of dragonflies. The family includes the largest dragonflies found in North America and Europe and among the largest dragonflies on the planet.


Common worldwide or nearly worldwide genera are Aeshna and Anax. The African Anax tristis has a wingspan over 125 mm, making it one of the world's largest known dragonflies.

The 41 North American species in 11 genera are represented in this family. Most European species belong to Aeshna. Their American name "darner" stems from the female abdomens looking like a sewing needle, as they cut into plant stem when they lay their eggs through the ovipositor.

The dragonflies mate in flight. The eggs are deposited in water or close by. The larvae (nymphs or naiads) are generally slender compared to those of other families, with a long and flat extensible lower lip (labium). The larvae are aquatic predators, feeding on other insects and even small fish.

The adults spend large amounts of time in the air and seem to fly tirelessly with their four large and powerful wings. They can fly forwards or backwards or hover like a helicopter. The wings are always extended horizontally.

Their abdomens are long and thin. Most are colored blue and or green, with black and occasionally yellow. Their large, hemispherical, compound eyes touch in the midline and nearly cover their heads. They have an extremely good sight, and are voracious insect predators, using their sharp, biting mouthparts. They are, therefore, very beneficial.

All are extremely hard to catch because of their flying abilities and keen sight.

A proposal has been made to split this family into Aeshnidae and Telephlebiidae.[2]

The name may have resulted from a printer's error in spelling the Greek Aechma, "a spear".[3] The spelling Aeschnidae has been intermittently used over a period of time, but is now abandoned for the original name Aeshnidae. However, derived genus names (such as Rhionaeschna) retain the 'sch' spelling, as this is how they were first cited.

Acanthaeschna Selys, 1883
Adversaeschna Watson, 1992
Aeschnophlebia Selys, 1883
Aeshna Fabricius, 1775
Afroaeschna Peters & Theischinger, 2011
Agyrtacantha Lieftinck, 1937
Allopetalia Selys, 1873
Amphiaeschna Selys, 1871
Anaciaeschna Selys, 1878
Anax Leach, 1815
Andaeschna De Marmels, 1994
Antipodophlebia Fraser, 1960
Austroaeschna Selys, 1883
Austrogynacantha Tillyard, 1908
Austrophlebia Tillyard, 1916
Basiaeschna Selys, 1883
Boyeria McLachlan, 1895
Brachytron Evans, 1845
Caliaeschna Selys, 1883
Castoraeschna Calvert, 1952
Cephalaeschna Selys, 1883
Coryphaeschna Williamson, 1903
Dendroaeschna Tillyard, 1916
Dromaeschna Förster, 1908
Epiaeschna Hagen in Selys, 1883
Gomphaeschna Selys, 1871
Gynacantha Rambur, 1842
Gynacanthaeschna Fraser, 1921
Heliaeschna Selys, 1882
Indaeschna Fraser, 1926
Limnetron Förster, 1907
Linaeschna Martin, 1908
Nasiaeschna Selys in Förster, 1907
Neuraeschna Hagen, 1867
Notoaeschna Tillyard, 1916
Oligoaeschna Selys, 1889
Oplonaeschna Selys, 1883
Oreaeschna Lieftinck, 1937
Periaeschna Martin, 1908
Petaliaeschna Fraser, 1927
Pinheyschna Peters & Theischinger, 2011
Planaeschna McLachlan, 1896
Plattycantha Förster, 1908
Polycanthagyna Fraser, 1933
Racenaeschna Calvert, 1958
Remartinia Navás, 1911
Rhionaeschna Förster, 1909
Sarasaeschna Karube & Yeh, 2001
Spinaeschna Theischinger, 1982
Staurophlebia Brauer, 1865
Telephlebia Selys, 1883
Tetracanthagyna Selys, 1883
Triacanthagyna Selys, 1883
Zosteraeschna Peter & Theischinger, 2011

See also

List of dragonflies (Aeshnidae)


Rambur, Jules (1842). Histoire naturelle des insectes. Névroptères (in French). Paris: Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret. pp. 534 [24] – via Gallica.
(Hawking & Theischinger, 1999)[full citation needed]

"Dragonflies of the Family Aeshnidae in British Columbia" (PDF). Retrieved 25 August 2009.[permanent dead link]

Silsby, Jill (2001). Dragonflies of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.

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