Saturday 11 September 2010

Camera Critters #127 Southern Hawker

I was replenishing the bird feeders today when my attention was caught by a large, apple green dragonfly which I later identified as a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
There was no male nearby but she had obviously been fertilised. She was clattering her wings quite noisily and seeking a place to lay her eggs. Rather than depositing her eggs on water plants she was ovipositing in the moss growing between the bricks on the bridge. 
Sometimes Southern Hawkers will lay eggs in rotting wood or on reeds. 
Here she is jabbing her ovipositor into the moss.
You can see her damaged wing quite clearly here on the left of the photo.
Though they breed late summer in vegetation near water they hunt well away from water and can often be seen late into the summer evening hawking through woodland rides. They are very common in southern and central England and Wales, but scarce in Scotland and only visitors to Ireland.
The eggs hatch in the spring and the larvae then feed on tadpoles and invertebrates. After two or three years the adult will emerge to begin its busy, merry life.

On close inspection of the photographs we discovered that our garden visitor had a damaged wing so I guess she is nearing the end of her short six weeks of life.
Aeshna means ugly or misshapen and cyanea means dark blue. The male is usually green with blue markings though sometimes all blue males are seen. 
I don't think they're ugly at all - they're one of Nature's brightest jewels.
Thank you to Misty Dawn for hosting this meme. To see more Critters please go here.


  1. Wow! He actually sat there and posed for you, too! Nature loves you, Denise.

  2. What a marvellous photo of a transient yet lovely life.

  3. I love these guys - especially their alien like faces!
    Love how the green moss picks up the green in the dragonfly.
    Excellent shots!
    You were definitely at the right place at the right time.

  4. Beautiful set of shots and interesting information.

  5. You're right, Janice, dragonflies are beautiful. I admire this one, with her wounded wing, striving to complete her job. She may not even be able to fly away, but she is determined to lay her eggs.
    Alberta, Canada

  6. What brilliant pictures! Interesting to see this happening so close up. I love the name Southern Hawker-so dramatic.

  7. I thought I was going to see a picture of a hawk when I read the title of your blog. Nice pictures of the Southern Hawker dragonfly! Thank you, too, for the information about this particular dragonfly.

  8. That's incredible, just 6 weeks. They have such an ancient look about them, almost prehistoric. Another sign too that summer is nearing the end of its rope.

  9. I've always been fascinated by dragon flies. You've made some excellent captures of it.

  10. I agree that insects maybe useful for the nature (or a real plague)but honnestly I find them disgusting ! The only insect I like is the little ladybug and I admire the ants !
    BTW I saw your post : "Spelling"
    If you want to learn the new Euro English, you should read it on my blog (if you have time) Euro English !

  11. Beautiful shot of the critter doing it's last and most important act in it's life.


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