Description male female larva Irish distribution

Aeshna juncea

Aeshna juncea (Linnaeus, 1758)


Common name: Common Hawker

Preferred environment: oligotrophic and mesotrophic pools and small lakes in blanket bog, raised bog and locally in fens.

Flight period: mid June to October. In Ireland mid-June to the end of September

Adult habitat and habits: adults are highly mobile and can be seen hunting well away from breeding sites. Favoured feeding areas are along edge of trees often flying at canopy level. At breeding areas males are territorial but at low densities. Patrol low down searching for females.

Oviposition site and behaviour: females lay eggs alone whilst perched at edge of water. Eggs are inserted into plants or wet substrate.

Larval habitat and habits: eggs hatch after winter diapause. Development takes a minimum of two years but in colder areas may take 4 years. Larvae live amongst vegetation and capture prey by ambush, or less frequently by pursuit.

Emergence behaviour: emerges at night close to edges of pools in low vegetation

Range: a Holarctic species. Throughout northern and central Europe with some isolated populations in southern Europe. Also across northern Asia to Japan and northern North America from Alaska to Newfoundland. Throughout Ireland principally in north and west and more local in lowlands and south east.

Determination of adults: species is keyed in Askew (1988) which also figures male abdominal appendages and male accessory genitalia. Adult insect is figured in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997)

Determination of larvae: Askew (1988).


Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 2). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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