Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
Species
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on August 29th 2011. Approx 2x lifesize.
Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on August 29th 2011.
(1/160th sec at f14. Approx 1.1x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Male side view. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on September 24th 2018. Approx 2.2x lifesize.
Male side view. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on September 24th 2018.
(1/640th sec at f13. Approx 1.2x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Immature male. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, on August 12th 2011. Approx 2x lifesize.
Immature male. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, on August 12th 2011.
(1/80th sec at f13. Approx 1.1x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Male in flight. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Bucks on July 24th 2010.
(1/320th sec at f5.6. Approx 1.25x lifesize. © David Hastings)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Female. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on September 7th 2015. Approx 2x lifesize.
Female. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on September 7th 2015.
(1/500th sec at f14. Approx 1.1x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Female side view. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on September 7th 2015. Approx 2x lifesize.
Female side view. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on September 7th 2015.
(1/500th sec at f14. Approx 1.1x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

Wingspan: 86 - 106 mm; Body length: 67 - 76 mm

A large, inquisitive Hawker usually seen individually. The spots on segments 8-10 are joined, unlike other Hawkers. The ante-humeral stripes are broad and strongly coloured. The costa is dark and there is an elongated triangular mark on S2. The male has a pronounced 'waist' between S3 and S4, which is missing in the female. The male is brightly marked on a dark background, usually apple green except for S8-10, which are pale blue. Occasionally, all pale blue marked individuals are seen. The female is brown with bright green markings. Immatures of both sexes are brown with pale yellow markings, and brown eyes.

It is commonest south of a line between the Humber and Ribble estuaries, but has recently been spreading north into Scotland. It is absent from Ireland.

Its breeding habitat is well-vegetated neutral or alkaline standing waters, sometimes shaded by trees. Unlilke other dragonflies it can tolerate small stangant ponds.

Eggs are laid into rotting vegetation, often above the water line. They hatch the following spring and the larvae take two or three years to develop. Adults can be seen any time from May to November. The peak flight period is July to September.

Adults mature well away from water, often around tree canopies in woodland glades. Mature males defend territories aggressively.

Common in the south, local elsewhere.

Sightings

24-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
09-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
04-Sep-2018 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1)
02-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
28-Aug-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
25-Aug-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
20-Aug-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
16-Aug-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
05-Aug-2018 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1)
31-Jul-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
31-Jul-2018 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
30-Jul-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
04-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
28-Jun-2018 : Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria (2)
24-Jun-2018 : Irton Pike, Cumbria (1)
18-Jun-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

03-Oct-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
30-Sep-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
13-Sep-2017 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1)
06-Sep-2017 : Folly Park, Faringdon, Oxon (2)
26-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
16-Aug-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (3)
16-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (4)
15-Aug-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (3)
13-Aug-2017 : West Walton, Norfolk (1)
07-Aug-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
06-Aug-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
06-Aug-2017 : Cothill Fen, Oxon (1)
03-Aug-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (3)
03-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
01-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
29-Jul-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
18-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (1)
02-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (1)
15-Jun-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1ten)

05-Nov-2016 : Trafico, Spain (1)
18-Sep-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
11-Sep-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
11-Sep-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
04-Sep-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3m)
07-Aug-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
06-Aug-2016 : Fence Wood, Berks (3)
24-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (1m,1f)
11-Jul-2016 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
07-Jul-2016 : Fermyn Wood, Northants (1)

01-Oct-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1m)
27-Sep-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
19-Sep-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
12-Sep-2015 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1m)
07-Sep-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (3m,2f)
06-Sep-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m)
06-Sep-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
15-Aug-2015 : Rushy Common, Oxon (2)
02-Aug-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
31-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
11-Jul-2015 : The Holies, Berks (1)

28-Sep-2014 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1)
13-Sep-2014 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
31-Aug-2014 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
28-Aug-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
09-Aug-2014 : Sole Common Pond, Berks (2)
03-Aug-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
20-Jul-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)