Insect Details

Southern Hawker Dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea)

(Photograph by member Alice)

Alan Broodbank's comments, 'Immature dragonflies aren't the easiest things in the world to identify from a single photo, especially when the colours haven't fully developed but I'm pretty sure that this is Aeshna cyanea, the Southern Hawker. I can understand why you suspected the Golden Ringed Dragonfly, but the markings don't seem quite right and it is definitely a species of moor and heathlands. The Southern Hawker breeds in woodland lakes and garden ponds, and it is very common in Southern England. There are a couple of similar-ish species but my money would be on A. cyanea ! I'd be interested to find out if the other entomological worthies concur!

It's a beautiful insect, isn't it? I find it a sobering thought that if one could go back about 280 million years similar species would already be around! Hopefully the creation of the new reed bed in the Lake in Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve will provide an additional habitat for lovely insects such as these - a fitting reward for the many hours of hard work that has gone into it by the Park Rangers and the volunteers.'

Common Blue Damselfly

Stuart Hine writes, 'Not the best angle for identification, but I am pretty sure that this is a female 'Southern Hawker', Aeshna cyanea - common in the south of the UK and a frequent visitor to garden ponds. This dragonfly breeds in my garden pond, which is just 4 feet square and 20" deep (an old water tank), so perhaps it could be one of our emergees.'

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