Southern hawker

This is the third species of dragonfly that has been photographed in the park and identified this summer: a southern hawker (Aeshna cyanea). The other two are the scarce chaser (Libellula fulva) we reported on 14th June, and a broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) photographed and identified by Ian on 29th June.

The two chasers are females; the males of both species have light blue abdomens and are distinctly different. It is more difficult to tell southern hawker males and females apart, but this one is probably a female as well.

In dragonflies it is the males who are the home-bodies; they choose a territory, a good egg-laying site, and aggressively defend it while they wait for a female. The females are the roamers, ranging over some distance, looking for good water and the males that defend it. So the female scarce chaser that was identified in the park, might have been passing through looking for, and maybe finding, suitable water but not necessarily a male defending it.

In dragonflies, males, unlikely as it seems, are a much more reliable indicator of  the presence of a breeding population.


Header picture: DKG

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