LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Env. Protection - Management

Env. Protection - Emergency

Env. Protection - Resources

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory.

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist

Spatterdock Darner (Rhionaeschna mutata)

Need a main photo for this animal



Spatterdock darner (Aeshna mutata) a State Threatened dragonfly has been found in shallow peaty lakes with abundant floating vegetation in the Central sands region. The flight period extends from early June through late June.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Spatterdock Darner (Rhionaeschna mutata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Rhionaeschna mutata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication PUB-ER-085-99 (now out-of-print).

Identification: Darners are large brightly colored clear winged dragonflies of wetland habitats. The spatterdock darner is mostly deep blue in color including the very large eyes. The shape of the terminal appendages of the adult male are distinctive. This is the only Wisconsin Aeshna that emerges in early June.

Habitat: Adults can be found at breeding sites from early June through early July. The nature of larval habitat makes d-frame net sampling very difficult. Exuviae of recently emerged individuals can be found clinging to emergent vegetation or on the shore of breeding ponds.

State Distribution: Adults are known from only three ponds in Marquette County and breeding is confirmed in only one of those.

Phenology: A. mutata is also distinctive in that it requires fleshy emergent aquatic vegetation in shallow usually fishless lakes. They are usually found in association with spatterdock (Nuphar spp.), hence the common name. Adult females insert eggs into the soft stems of aquatic vegetation below the water line. Larvae are active predators and actively stalk aquatic organisms. They probably have a two–year life cycle. Emergence takes place in early June and adults are present until early July.

Management Guidelines: Very little is known about the factors limiting the distribution of spatterdock darners. Introduction of fish or modification of pond habitats to make ponds more suitable for fish are probably detrimental practices for A. mutata populations.


No additional photos are available for Spatterdock Darner at this time. Please consider donating a photo to the Natural Heritage Conservation program.

Last revised: Tuesday, February 19, 2019