Southern hawker

Aeshna cyanea

About

The southern hawker is a large hawker dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June through to September. A common dragonfly of ponds, lakes and canals in the lowlands, particularly near to woodland, it can be seen patrolling a regular patch of water when hunting or 'hawking' through woodland rides. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.

How to identify

The southern hawker is mostly black in colour. The male has lime green spots all along the body with pale blue bands on the last three segments of the abdomen, blue-green eyes and large green patches on the thorax. The female is paler, with pale -green spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The southern hawker can be recognised by its lime green, rather than blue, spots along most of its body and the large pale patches on the thorax.

Where to find it

England and Wales, slowly spreading into Scotland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden with plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Southern hawker
Latin name
Aeshna cyanea
Category
Invertebrates
Dragonflies and damselflies
Statistics
Length: 7cm
Conservation status
Common.