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 added in 2021 = 4

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Harlequin Darner (Gomphaeschna furcillata) by John Petranka, Sally Gewalt
Compare with: Taper-tailed Darner  
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Note: except as noted for the cerci, all characters apply to both sexes.

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map
Click on county for list of all its records for Harlequin Darner
flight charts
distribution Throughout the Coastal Plain, and the eastern two-thirds of the Piedmont. Ranges as far west as Stokes, Forsyth, and Iredell counties, though there was an unconfirmed (sight) report from Burke County in spring 2014. The occurrence in most of the Piedmont is spotty and consists mostly of older records.
abundance Generally uncommon to infrequent over the Coastal Plain, but can be locally common to very common (in swarms). Uncommon in the extreme lower Piedmont, but rare and declining in the central Piedmont. (There are a number of new records, documented by photos, of the closely related Taper-tailed Darner, but as can be seen from the Harlequin Darner map, there are very few recent records for the Piedmont, and none west of Orange County.)
flight Spring season, but sparingly into early summer. Its flight in the Coastal Plain is from late March to mid-May, with scattered records to early July; the Piedmont flight period is narrower -- early April to late May. The peak of the flight is in mid-April.
habitat Typically near swamps or wetter bottomlands, but also near wooded creeks.

See also Habitat Account for General Wet-Hydric Floodplains
behavior This species has a fairly unusual behavior. Males patrol over swamps or marshes, but also along roads through wetlands and also in nearby uplands. They fly generally from 3-6 feet off the ground, often back and forth, and sometimes hover in the observer's face! They do not perch often, but when they do, it typically is vertically on tree trunks, but at times on humans.
comments Dunkle (2000) calls the species "scarce" over its entire range; Beaton (2007) calls it "Rare to uncommon and local" throughout Georgia. Yet, observers have often seen dozens in some favorable spots in the NC Coastal Plain, and it can be the most commonly seen dragonfly at a few wetland areas, especially acidic wetlands such as pocosins. And, Cuyler has collection records from all but a few of the Coastal Plain counties in the state. There are disturbingly few records in recent years for the Piedmont, and the only confirmed records in the past 20 years have ranged west only to Orange County. Cuyler and maybe others had records for 7-8 counties farther to the west of Orange County, a few decades ago; despite many observers today in this province, there are no recent records there.
state_status
S_rank S4S5
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-07-28 11:42:03

Photo Gallery for Harlequin Darner   30 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Aaron Edmonds

Comment: Harnett; C, 2021-04-18, Flat Branch
Photo 2 by: Aaron Edmonds

Comment: Harnett; C, 2021-04-18, Flat Branch
Photo 3 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Bladen, 2021-04-06, Bay Tree Lake SNA
Photo 4 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Bladen, 2021-04-06, Bay Tree Lake SNA
Photo 5 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Bladen, 2021-04-06, Bay Tree Lake SNA
Photo 6 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Durham, 2020-04-05, Walking roads at Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment. - Males.
Photo 7 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Orange, 2020-03-27, Mason Farm Biological Reserve - Chapel Hill - Perched vertically on tree trunk
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Bladen, 2019-04-16, Suggs Mill Pond Game Land - male landed on hand
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Wayne, 2019-04-15, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park (CLNE)
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jones, 2018-04-03, Weetock Trail near Haywood Landing, Croatan National Forest
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Camden, 2017-04-14, Dismal Swamp State Park (DISW)
Photo 12 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Camden, 2017-04-13, Dismal Swamp State Park - perhaps an underestimate; males and females photographed and netted
Photo 13 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn

Comment: Camden, 2017-04-13, Dismal Swamp State Park - perhaps an underestimate; males and females photographed and netted
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jones, 2017-04-11, Weetock Trail near Haywood Landing, Croatan National Forest
Photo 15 by: John Petranka

Comment: Wake, 2017-04-01, Robertson Millpond Preserve, Robertson Pond Road, eastern Wake County. - Males. Patrolling near the parking area.
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2016-03-25, along Northeast Cape Fear River at Holly Shelter Boating Access
Photo 17 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett, Matt Anderson

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-05-03, - Single male in grassy clearing near Lake Bagget.
Photo 18 by: Larry Lynch

Comment: Gates, 2015-04-18, Merchants Millpond State Park - female
Photo 19 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-04-13, - Clearing between wooded areas
Photo 20 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Craven, 2014-04-05, - Many seen patrolling roadway. One netted and photographed for ID.
Photo 21 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-04-05, - Several specimens found patrolling clearing between wooded areas
Photo 22 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Brunswick, 2013-04-26, Green Swamp
Photo 23 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Pender, 2013-04-23, Cape Fear River, Holly Shelter Game Land
Photo 24 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2013-04-18, Temple Flat Rock
Photo 25 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2011-04-26, At Milltail Creek put-in, Alligator River NWR
Photo 26 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Pender, 2011-04-14, - Boat launch area on Cape Fear River - Holly Shelter Game Land
Photo 27 by: Jeffrey Pippen - Jeff's website

Comment: Gates, 2007-04-13. Merchants Millpond State Park
Photo 28 by: Jeffrey Pippen - Jeff's website

Comment: Female; Gates, 2007-04-13. Merchants Millpond State Park
Photo 29 by: Chris Helms

Comment: Columbus, 2007-03-18, Lake Waccamaw State Park - Perched on pine after late afternoon rains.
Photo 30 by: Floyd Williams, Signa Williams

Comment: Gates, 2005-04-08, male, Merchants Millpond State Park