Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea
Adult SizeOverall length: 67 - 76mm Hindwing length: 43 - 51mm
Distinguishing featuresA large, inquisitive hawker usually seen individually. Males will often fly up to people to investigate them. Antehumeral stripes are very thick and bright in colour. Britain’s most colourful looking Hawker.
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
The male is brightly marked on a dark background, having pairs of bright apple green spots except for segments 8-10, which are pale blue which gives the impression of stripes. Antehumeral stripes are thick apple green. Eyes are bright blue.
Resemble the adults but have a pale brown base colour the dots and stripes are pale yellow. The eyes also pale brown.
Have typically pairs of apple green yellow dots against brown abdominal segments, where segments 8 -10 become stripes of green. The antehumeral stripes are thick and apple green. The eyes are green-brow.
Resemble immature males having a light brown base colour with pale yellow dots. The eyes are also pale brown.
HabitatBreeds in a variety of well vegetated water bodies such as ponds, lakes and canals. Often found in urban areas in parks and garden ponds.
BehaviourHunts well away from water and may be found hawking woodland rides well into the evening. Will ‘buzz’ people and animals. Males are territorial and will chase other males and other species.
Status and distributionVery common in southern and central England and Wales. Common and widespread in Dorset.
Flight periodMain flight period is June to November, peaking between July, August & September.
Similar speciesThe Southern Hawker can occur in habitat that supports 3 other blue Hawkers in the south: Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Hairy Dragonfly. The bright green colour of the adults and inquisitive nature of males are characteristic.
More photographsClick on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.