"A Nature Observer′s Scrapbook"

The Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta.

'golf tee' identification mark
on abdomen segment 2 'separated blue spots' identification mark
on abdomen segments 8 and 9. 'hooked wing vein' 'hooked wing vein'

Migrant Hawker

Aeshna mixta

Scrolling the mouse cursor along the abdomen will highlight the main identification features :

- the 'golf-tee' at the top of the abdomen,

- the clearly separated blue spots on segments 8 and 9 at the lower end of the abdomen,

- and scrolling the trailing edge of the hind wing will highlight the 'hind wing hooked vein' feature (see below).

'spur = auricula'

Seen close up, the big opalescent compound eyes create an almost alien appearance.

The close-up also allows one to appreciate the truly complex structure of these insects - not all of which is fully understood.

I am indebted to Antoine van der Heijden
(whose website 'Dragonflies and Damselflies of Europe' is excellent)
for the information that the small yellow 'spurs' (one each side) seen on the lower side of the forward abdomen (mouse over on the middle image will highlight one) are 'auriculae' whose function is not known, and are only found on males of the Aeshnidae, Gomphidae, Cordulegastridae and Cordulidae families (that's the Hawkers, Dragonflies and Emeralds) in Western Europe.

These same families also have hooked veins on the trailing edge of their hind wings - just about visible on the trailing edge of the hind wings in the upper image.

The female is not quite so colourful as the male but the principal distinguishing feature is that the sides of all the abdominal segments have dull yellow patches whereas the male has a vivid blue patch (see middle image) that is clearly visible, even in flight.

Valid XHTML 1.0!