The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Related Species in AESHNIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 4

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Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens) by Kristy Baker
Compare with: Swamp Darner   Cyrano Darner   Phantom Darner  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply to both sexes. Female depicted here.

[Google images]     [Global Biodiversity Information Facility]      iNaturalist
Click on county for list of all its records for Regal Darner
Flight Charts
Distribution Present over much or most of the lower and southern Coastal Plain, north to Albemarle Sound and west to the Sandhills. Elsewhere, sparingly in the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont. However, a most surprising record was documented from the northern mountains (Watauga County) in 2015, and a slightly less surprising record came from well inland Rowan County in 2019. Thus, it certainly can be present over much of the state, and it seems to be expanding its range westward. (New county records in 2021 were documented by photos in Granville and Richmond counties; and in 2022 from Brunswick, Sampson, and Anson counties.) Not surprisingly, the northern limit of the species' range is extreme southeastern VA, though it is found mainly in the Southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains.
Abundance Easily overlooked (as a Swamp Darner) and difficult to identify for certain except through photographs. Seemingly rare, but perhaps uncommon in some of the southern coastal counties north to Jones and Craven. Abundance difficult to assess because of its often high-flying behavior, and its similarity to the very common Swamp Darner, making the species difficult to confirm. Most numerous in Florida. For now, however, must be considered as quite "scarce" (though possibly increasing) away from the lower Coastal Plain. (Cuyler, for example, never collected it inward from the lower Coastal Plain, though he intensively worked the entire state.)
Flight In Georgia, it flies from early April to mid-September. The relatively few (32) flight date records from NC are from 2 May to 22 August, suggesting a moderately extended flight.
Habitat Ponds and lakes in forested areas, but may occur over fields and other open areas.

See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Wet-Hydric Forests
Behavior Typically seen flying rather high, often at treetop level, over a pond nearby. Usually discovered by luck or accident (literally as in the case of a car strike in Durham County) in the state! Many recent records are of females seen ovipositing in ponds. The individual photographed in Sampson County in 2022 "Fell from the sky while observing a flock of Purple Martins".
Comments The species is poorly known in North Carolina, recorded only from 24 counties (as of the end of 2022), though thankfully records and "range" have been increasing and expanding in recent years. It had been on the N.C. Natural Heritage Program list as a Significantly Rare species since 2012, it but was removed from that list and the Watch List also in late 2022. Though this is a very large/long species, it could easily be confused in flight (and even perched if not seen closely) with the much more common Swamp Darner. Fortunately, Conrad Wernett was able to net and photograph one (in hand) in 2013, adding a first record for Jones County. Dave Lenat collected a larva along the southern shore of Lake Waccamaw in 2014 to provide a first record for Columbus County. Kristi Baker provided excellent lateral view photos of one in 2015 from Tyrrell County, documenting a first record for that county and providing a first record for the Pamlimarle Peninsula. John Petranka made a remarkable discovery of one at a high elevation lake near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Watauga County (where a stray?), with photographs taken on 1 July 2015. A first record for Dare County was added (by photo) in 2020, as were records for Granville and Richmond counties in 2021 and three more counties west to Anson County in 2022. Nowadays, most recent records by photos have been of females ovipositing in lakes and ponds; the females can remain motionless in a vertical position for several minutes, her lower abdomen in the water and the tell-tale markings of the thorax visible above the water.
State Rank S2? [S2S3]
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2024-07-13 14:55:58

Photo Gallery for Regal Darner   22 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Lucas Wilson

Comment: Richmond; C, 2024-06-22, - Indiana Camp Lake - female ovipositing
Photo 2 by: Amy Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2024-06-12, Pond 2 miles SE of Clarkton, NC - Exuvia left at pond at edge of swamp
Photo 3 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Scotland, 2023-06-30, Scotland Lake, Sandhills Game Land - female observed ovipositing
Photo 4 by: Bobby O

Comment: Sampson, 2022-08-07, Autryville, about 3 miles east of the South River. Fell from the sky while observing a flock of Purple Martins. iNaturalist record #129808161 - Male
Photo 5 by: Henry Nase

Comment: Brunswick, 2022-07-12, At parking area for Green Swamp Preserve, 34.09328, -78.29913, iNaturalist record #1259758023
Photo 6 by: Travis McLane

Comment: Anson, 2022-06-25, photo on iNaturalist:
Photo 7 by: John Petranka

Comment: Granville, 2021-06-28, Turtle Pond. Ledge Creek Forest Conservation Area near Stem, NC. - Female. Ovipositing
Photo 8 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent

Comment: Richmond; C, 2021-06-14, - Female ovipositing in Indian Camp Lake
Photo 9 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Carteret, 2021-05-21, Croatan NF--Patsy Pond Nature Trail
Photo 10 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: New Hanover, 2020-08-22, Marshes south of Fort Fisher/Federal Point (by kayak) - only 1 photographed; more darners seen that could've been this species
Photo 11 by: Jason Brown

Comment: Dare; OBU, 2020-06-23, Manteo. Originally posted on iNaturalist. - Male.
Photo 12 by: Roger Shaw

Comment: Scotland, 2020-05-02, Scotland Lake - Female ovipositing
Photo 13 by: jariailwatkins

Comment: Rowan, 2019-05-20, Near Salisbury. iNaturalist record 25454160. Submitted by John Petranka - Male.
Photo 14 by: Cindy Darnell

Comment: Durham, 2018-06-26, Durham. Car strike; car had only been driven within Durham city limits recently. - Male.
Photo 15 by: Joy Elaine Shuck

Comment: Beaufort, 2018-06-08, Goose Creek State Park along the wetlands boardwalk. iNaturalist record# 48926036 - Ovipositing female.
Photo 16 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Columbus, 2016-07-23, - Single female netted and photographed at Lake Waccamaw
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2015-07-18, Suggs Millpond (aka Horseshoe Lake)
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2015-07-09, Mature female perched in tree along my driveway, Holly Ridge
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2015-07-09, Mature female perched in tree along my driveway, Holly Ridge.
Photo 20 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Watauga, 2015-07-01, Patrolling around the spillway of Julian Price Lake. Unusual mountain occurance of Regal Darner. ID confirmed by Dennis Paulson. - Female with cerci missing. Perched momentarily for a long-range, low-resolution photo.
Photo 21 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Tyrrell, 2015-06-06, Palmetto-Peartree Preserve
Photo 22 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2013-05-27, captured and photographed while viewing Prince Baskettails