Dragonfly Guide

Aeshna viridis

Eversmann, 1836

Green hawker

Aeshna viridis
Aeshna viridis, male
Photo: Göran LiljebergCreative Commons CCCreative Commons BY

Description

Looks a lot like a small Anax imperator thanks to its bright green thorax sides, almost free of dark markings.

The frons has a black marking, T-shaped or missing the stem, making it look like a crescent. It has wide bright green antehumeral stripes, like A. cyanea. Eyes are light blue in the mature males, and green in females and immature males. First segment on the abdomen has a diagnostic marking of two opposing U-shapes. Abdomen is mainly black with large spots of blue on males, and some minor narrow green stripes only visible on close range. Females are brown with green spots. Wings have a yellow tint and a yellow leading margin. It has long yellow pterostigma, distinguishing it from A. cyanea, which has a darker leading margin and pterostigmas.

Behaviour

Tightly bound to waters with the water soldier, Stratoides aloides, but often seen hunting far from the waters. It can then be seen hunting over open areas, at high altitude.

Distribution

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Distribution map. Data from gbif.org

Found from the Netherlands to the western edge of the Central Siberian Plateau, but largely confined to the north and east of Europe. Relatively wide spread in northern European Russia, the Baltic States and Poland, and probably also Belarus and northern Ukraine. In Fennoscandia it is confined to southern Finland and Sweden. It is also found in the Netherlands, Denmark, and the north of Germany. Only isolated populations are found in the southern parts of central Europe, with records from the floodplains of the Drava River on the border of Slovenia and Croatia, and of the Tisza River in north-eastern Hungary.

Habitat

Tightly coupled to waters with large fields of water soldier, Stratoides aloides, in which the females oviposit their eggs. These fields are found in standing or slowly flowing, largely unshaded, waters with a mesotrophic to moderately eutrophic status. Natural habitats include lakes and oxbow in the floodplains of large rivers. It also inhabits man-made peat-excavation ponds in later stages of vegetation succession. In western Europe the species has become rare in natural habitats and is mainly found in man-made waters, such as large ditches and canals in low peat areas.

Sources

  • Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies, Jean-Pierre Boudot(Editor), Vincent J Kalkman(Editor), Fons Peels(Illustrator)

  • Dragonflies and Damselflies of Europe: A scientific approach to the identification of European Odonata without capture, Galliani, C.; Scherini, R.; Piglia, A.

  • Field guide to the dragonflies of Britain and Europe, Klaas-Douwe B Dijkstra.

  • Nordens trollsländor, M. Billqvist, D. Andersson, C. Bergendorff