Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

Adult size

Overall length: 56- 64mm   Hindwing length: 37 - 41mm

Distinguishing features

A late emerging summer & autumn hawker, much like a reduced size Common Hawker, similar in colour, but has a diagnostic yellow ‘t’ on the second segment in males and females. Costa (wing edge) is brown-black.

Identification - for help with terms see glossary

Mature males

Have paired blue dots against black abdominal segments with paired pale yellow flecks. There is a yellow ‘t’ on the second segment of the thorax, just beneath the wings which is characteristic for this species.  Antehumeral stripes are very small or absent. Eyes are bright blue.

Immature males

Resemble the adults but have a pale brown base colour the dots and stripes are pale pink-grey. The eyes also pale pink-grey.

Mature females

Have paired yellow dots against brown abdominal segments. Has a yellow‘t’ on segment 2. Antehumeral stripes are very small or absent. Eyes are green-brown.

Immature females

Resemble mature females except that the yellow dots are paler and eyes are a pale brown colour.

Habitat

Breeds in a variety of well vegetated water bodies such as ponds, lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs and canals.

Behaviour

Both males and females with fly and hawk high in canopy and along hedges, but will often perch low down in vegetation and very approachable. Do not investigate humans.

Status and distribution

Common and increasing its range. Strongholds in southern England, but now reaching well into northern England and recently appeared in Ireland. Continental migrants may boost the population in late summer. One of the commonest hawkers in Dorset.


 

Flight period

Main flight period is July to November, peaking between August-October.

Similar species

The Migrant Hawker can occur in habitat that supports 3 other blue Hawkers in Dorset: Common Hawker, Southern Hawker and Hairy Dragonfly. Its small size, and yellow ‘t’ shaped marking should easily separate it from the other species.

More photographs

Click on the photos below to enlarge...

All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.