Baiaeschna janata, Dragonfly – Springtime Darner

Georgian Bay Forever is working with Dr. Kevin McCann of the University of Guelph, and the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding to catalogue all the aquatic organisms in Georgian Bay. This will help with measuring the impact of environmental stressors like climate change and human activity such as shoreline development as well as aiding in future conservation efforts, ecosystem monitoring, forensics, and tracking invasives. All the specimens collected and identified will also contribute to the International Barcode of Life , a multi-nation effort to catalogue the world's biodiversity. Here is one example from Georgian Bay's Aquatic Species Library.


    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Order: Odonata
    Family: Aeshnidae
    Subfamily: Brachytroninae
    Genus: Basiaeschna
    Species: Basiaeschna janata

Identification - Linnaean Taxonomy
A branch of science, taxonomy, allocates living creatures into different categories or classifications in order to provide a way for humans to more easily understand living things. Classifications are characterized by shared features. Carl Linneas categorized living things into a system called Linnaean Taxonomy, and a way of naming them called binomial nomenclature, which gives an organism a genus and species name. For example:
1. Rock Bass – common name, and commonly found in Georgian Bay
Linneas categorized living things into a system called Linnaean Taxonomy, and a way of naming them called binomial nomenclature, which gives an organism a genus and species name. For example:
1. Rock Bass – common name, and commonly found in Georgian Bay
Genus – Amblophites
Species – rupestris
Scientific name – Ambloplites rupestris
2. Shadow Bass – common name, found in Southern US like Louisiana
Genus – Ambloplites
Species – ariommus
Scientific name – Ambloplites ariommus

The Linnaean classification system, specified in Carl Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae (1735) divided living things through a process of narrowing categorization. This methodology evolved into the narrow classification system that is used today, and noted below.

From broadest – (1) Kingdom (2) Phylum or Division (3) Class (4) Order(5) Family(6) Genus(7) Species– to specific

An early flyer

Springtime darner
Basiaeschna janata or the Springtime Darner is a dragnonfly that comes by its common name because of its early flight time which sometimes starts towards the end of April and the beginning of May - earlier than other "blue" darners of the Aeshna genus. Hence, the springtime darner is the only species in the genus Basiaeschna.

It's not just blue

This dragonfly is characterized by small brown spot at the base of the wings in both the male and female, and side stripes on its chest (thorax) that are bright yellow or white. Males are distinguished by blue spots on the abdomen and more simple claspers. Females have longer, more narrow clasp appendages.

The springtime darner is common in the United States and to Southeast Canada where there are gently flowing rivers and steams in forested areas, and can sometimes be found in clear ponds and lakes. It feeds on bugs over water where it does its mating and egg-laying.

What’s the dragonfly’s connection to water?

Dragonflies can live quite a long time, however much of their life is spent in the nymph stage which is largely underwater where they look nothing like a dragonfly. Some interesting facts about the life cycle of dragonflies:
  • Dragonflies mate flying over water. The female will either lay the eggs on a water plant or drop them in the water.
  • The larvae from hatched eggs are called nymphs. Nymphs look like underwater flies without wings. They live in the water developing for 2 to 4 years like this springtime darner nymph found in Georgian Bay. They eat other insects and larvae, other nymphs, worms, and small crustaceans. They are preyed upon by fish, frogs, birds, beetles, and other dragonflies.
  • Once a nymph is fully developed, and the weather is suitable, the nymph will crawl from the water and shed its skin or exuvia, emerging as a dragonfly.
  • Adult dragonflies only live for a short time which is about 2 months.

Thank you for supporting the Georgian Bay Aquatic Species Library

For more information about the DNA barcoding project for Georgian Bay. Please visit here.

We can't stop now! Please donate to Georgian Bay Forever to ensure projects like these continue. Georgian Bay Forever is a charity that funds and supports scientific research, restoration projects and education that protect and enhance the waters of Georgian Bay, as part of the Great Lakes. Our vision is that Georgian Bay waters are healthy and thriving for future generations. Learn more about how you can support out work.

Sources and acknowledgements

Thank you to the sources for information in this post.

Note - We try to bring together information to help understand this species. We do use sources to provide information and visuals. We do our best to attribute properly and try very hard to get it right. If we have made an inadvertent mistake around recognizing someone’s work or misinterpreting the work, please let us know via email at communications and I will correct.