Hairy Dragonfly - Brachytron pratense
Adult sizeOverall length: 54 - 63mm Hindwing length: 34 - 37mm
Distinguishing featuresThis is the first hawker on the wing and is a spring/early summer species. They are small in size and quite dark in appearance. Up close have obviously very hairy thorax. A very early and short flight season means it’s likely to be under recorded and overlooked.
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
HabitatMainly found near well-vegetated still water bodies such as ponds, ditches, lakes but also found in slow flowing waters. Does not tolerate polluted waters.
BehaviourMales are territorial and patrol small areas over open water. Both sexes only active during warm sunny weather and will rest if cloudy. Females are much less likely to be seen as they spend most time way from water.
Status and distributionHas a very uneven distribution in Britain, strong in the south east but does occur in patches in north and west and is increasing its range. Seems to be rare in Dorset, with scattered sightings, but could be overlooked.
Flight periodMain flight period is late March to July, peaking in May & June.
The Hairy Dragonfly can occur in habitat that supports 3 other blue Hawkers in the south: Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker and Common Hawker. It’s very early emergence and small size usually separates it from the others. The similar sized Migrant Hawker is on the wing when the Hairy Dragonfly has finished its flight season.
Click on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.