Thursday, August 02, 2007

Southern Hawker / Blå Mosaikguldsmed

Aeshna cyanea

Aeshna means 'ugly' or 'misshapen', and cyanea means 'dark blue. There are many similar species of the Genus Aeshna.

The Southern Hawker is one of the largest dragonflies in Denmark. Body-length 71-74 mm. The abdomen of the male is dark with yellow, green and blue drawings, the female's abdomen is dark with green drawings. It looks like other Southern Hawkers (Blå Mosaikguldsmede),  but it is recognized by that the upperside of the two back parts of the abdomen are coherent and one colour blue by the male and green by the female - not divided in spots. The blue or green colour on these abomen parts light up and are so distinct that it is often possible to determine the species even at a long distance.

On rare occasions the back-spots upon the adults' two back parts can be more or less divided  - a little like other spotted hawkers. In a few males the back spots, which else are typically light green, are light blue instead. 

The Southern Hawker flies with great agility and a speed of 25-30 km an hour, while it is catching insects in mid air a catch basket, which it forms with its strong legs. The prey is often eaten on the wing- saying crush, crush.

The development progress takes 2-3 years, the egg-development almost 1 year.The eggs overwinter and are hatched the following spring, and the development of the larvae lasts usually 1 - 2 years.

Habitat: The Southern Hawker breeds in still water-  many habitats are quite small and it often breeds in small, warm garden ponds. It often flies far from the water, hunting along hedgerows and in forest glades.

The Southern Hawker( Blå Mosaikguldsmed) lives in all districts of Denmark, it is very common on the Isles and in East Jutland, but more scattered in Mid- and West jutland

photo July 2007 Vokslev Kalkgrube, Himmerland, Jutland: grethe bachmann

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