Aeshna grandis

Common Name:
Brown Hawker
A. grandis
The Name
Aeshna grandis (Linnaeus, 1758), the Brown Hawker, is a large dragonfly about 73 mm long. It is a distinctive species and is easily recognised, even in flight, by its brown body and bronze wings. At rest, blue spots on the second and third segments of the male's abdomen can be noticed; these are absent in female.

It is widespread in England but commonest in the South East; local in Ireland and absent from Scotland. It is found on well-vegetated ponds, lakes and canals. It patrols a regular hunting territory around margins which is vigorously defended against intruders.


The Characteristics
Length around 73mm, windspan around 102mm. This is a large Hawker with obvious golden brown wings. Both sexes have strong yellow stripes on the sides of the thorax and no ante-humeral stripes. The male is chocolate brown with small blue and yellow markings. It has a noticeable waisted appearence. The female has small yellow markings and lacks the males waist.

Aeshna grandis stands out from other Aeshna dragonflies due to its overall brown colour a touch of which even returns on its wings. This makes the appearance of this dragonfly quite impressive during flight as the slightly darker wings make it look larger.


The Reproduction and Development
Breeds in standing or slow-flowing water laying its eggs in floating or emergent vegetation or timber. Hunts well away from water and may be found hawking woodland rides well into the evening.

Males are territorial holding territories at water bodies or away from water. Copulation occurs away from water in vegetation. Females oviposit alone placing eggs into wet mud, wet deadwood or aquatic and marginal plants.

Eggs overwinter and hatch in spring. Larvae live amongst submerged water plants or amongst plant debris. Development takes 2-4 years according to locality. Recorded food items include chironomid larvae (up to 50% of diet in some studies), adult flies and Zygoptera from water surface. Larvae can also be cannibalistic. Emergence happens low down on marginal vegetation at night.

Preferred environment are mesotrophic and eutrophic, sheltered lowland lakes and ponds. Also canals and flooded disused gravel pits. Flight period from end of June to the end of October.


The Distribution
Ranged northern and central Europe from the Pyrenees to northern Finland; Asia to Lake Baikal region. 


The Protection Status
Common and abundant throughout its range.

The Species on Stamps



With courteous to Mr. Richard Lewington for the Dragonfly Illustration
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