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Southern Hawker

The Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) is one of the largest dragonflies we have. Intensely curious, males patrolling their territory will often come over and "check you out". Frequently found away from water, hawking along woodland rides or hedgerows, this is the most common summer hawker in norfolk.

Immature Southern Hawker


The colour of the dots differs: females have yellow spots, mature males have green spots on segments 3 to 8 (blue on last 2 segments) and immature males have blue (as in the photo above).

Southerns hardly ever settle - for the most part what you will see is a flash of yellow as they dart past you. Immature males and females can be confused with the Common and Migrant Hawkers

Separate it from the Migrant by that insect's smaller size and generally "bluer" appearance - particularly the blue "saddle" that appears in the male Migrant as it flies. Also the prominent ante-humeral stripes in the Southern, (Migrant has faint or non-existent stripes). The Migrant holds its tail down in flight in a quite distinctive fashion, while the Southern holds it straight. Finally the migrant has very prominent long anal appendages.

Distinguishing Southern from Common is extremely hard unless you can get a clear view of the insect while settled. The crucial point is that on the Southern, sections 9 and 10 of the abdomen have blue (yellow in female) stripes, whilst on the Common (and the migrant), there are blue dots (yellow in female).

Fortunately commons aren't (common that is - at least in Norfolk), and confined to the very eastern side of the county.

Female Southern Hawker

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Male Top Male Side
Ovipositing Female Side
Emergence Exuvea

Southern's have been recorded from the following sites.

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