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Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea

In size the Southern Hawker is a rather big, but highly variable species. When fully developed the adult males can be identified by looking at the thorax. The sides of the thorax are green on top it is brown with two yellow line like markings. The dark markings on the segments 9 and 10 are connected, which is another good characteristic of the Southern Hawker. It is very similar to Common Hawker, but in this species the costa (the big main vein of the wing) is yellow and adult males have a constricted waist. The Southern Hawker may reach a length of 67 to 76mm and the wingspan may be anything from 85 to 110mm.

The female Southern Hawker prefers to lay her eggs on floating objects like drift wood, or in the soil, just above the waterline. Depositing the eggs takes place late in summer or even the beginning of autumn. The eggs don't hatch immediately, but overwinter first. Next spring the young appear. Like the larvae of most Dragonflies, they are very greedy and grow fast. Still they don't become adult in the same year, but usually overwinter twice. The Southern Hawker prefers small, but rich waters, such as ditches, garden ponds and pools in forests.

The Southern Hawker is not the best of flyers, but can be seen far away from water. Quite common in gardens and parks. Males often have their own territory in which females are accepted. They patrol their territory by flying at a hight of about 1 meter. When a female is met they'll start mating in a bush, but soon move to tree tops completing the procedure. Southern Hawkers always hunt alone and usually hunt one to two meters above the soil. The species is common in England, quite common in Wales and rare in southern Scotland, being absent in other parts of Scotland. Except for one find not present in Ireland.