Sussex Dragonfly Group

Brown Hawker
Aeshna grandis (Linnaeus, 1758)
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Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

Brown Hawker
Aeshna grandis

Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

This is a common and easily identified hawker since both sexes have wings tinged with amber-brown, noticeable even in flight. It has lemon-yellow stripes on the thorax and spots - sky-blue in the male, yellow in the female - down the side of the abdomen.

Aeshna grandis
1 / 6
Female
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
2 / 6
Female ovipositing
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna grandis
3 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna grandis
4 / 6
Female ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
5 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
6 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Generally common and widespread, though absent from Scotland and some parts of the southwest.

Status in Sussex
More common towards the east of Sussex. Much more local in West Sussex, apart from a strong presence on the Arun. Absent from much of the far west of Sussex and the coastal strip immediately east of the Arun. The general distribution pattern does not appear to have changed much over the years.

Distribution at 1km scale

Aeshna grandis distribution (all)
Aeshna grandis distribution pre 1980
Aeshna grandis distribution 1980 - 1989
Aeshna grandis distribution 1990 - 1999
Aeshna grandis distribution 2000 - 2009
Aeshna grandis distribution 2010 - 2019
Aeshna grandis distribution 2010 on

Historical records
This species appears to have always been more common in East than West Sussex. Interestingly, Dannreuther (1939, 1945) claimed that the first county record was by W. Markwick on 29 July 1802 at Denne Park, Horsham. In 1945 Dannreuther listed only one other site in West Sussex. Chelmick (1979) considered this species the most common Aeshna in the High Weald.

Flight times
Late June - early October.

Phenology (adult)

Aeshna grandis phenology (all)
Aeshna grandis phenology pre 1980
Aeshna grandis phenology 1980 - 1989
Aeshna grandis phenology 1990 - 1999
Aeshna grandis phenology 2000 - 2009
Aeshna grandis phenology 2010 - 2019
Aeshna grandis phenology 2010 on
Aeshna grandis habitat
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Brown Hawker habitat at Reed and fen at Pevensey
Photo: Fran Southgate

Habitat
Large and well-vegetated lakes and ponds, occasionally slow-moving water such as canals.

Conservation
It readily colonises gravel pits, canals and other sites abandoned by industry and then flooded or created as wetland habitat. It can tolerate the residual pollution of many ex-industrial sites.

Similar species
There should be no difficulty in identification of this species given its uniquely chocolate-coloured appearance with brown wings.

This is a common and easily identified hawker since both sexes have wings tinged with amber-brown, noticeable even in flight. It has lemon-yellow stripes on the thorax and spots - sky-blue in the male, yellow in the female - down the side of the abdomen.

Aeshna grandis
1 / 6
Female
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
2 / 6
Female ovipositing
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna grandis
3 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna grandis
4 / 6
Female ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
5 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna grandis
6 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Generally common and widespread, though absent from Scotland and some parts of the southwest.

Status in Sussex
More common towards the east of Sussex. Much more local in West Sussex, apart from a strong presence on the Arun. Absent from much of the far west of Sussex and the coastal strip immediately east of the Arun. The general distribution pattern does not appear to have changed much over the years.

Distribution at 1km scale

Aeshna grandis distribution (all)
Aeshna grandis distribution bre 1980
Aeshna grandis distribution 1980 - 1989
Aeshna grandis distribution 1990 - 1999
Aeshna grandis distribution 2000 - 2009
Aeshna grandis distribution 2010 - 2019
Aeshna grandis distribution 2020 on

Historical records
This species appears to have always been more common in East than West Sussex. Interestingly, Dannreuther (1939, 1945) claimed that the first county record was by W. Markwick on 29 July 1802 at Denne Park, Horsham. In 1945 Dannreuther listed only one other site in West Sussex. Chelmick (1979) considered this species the most common Aeshna in the High Weald.

Flight times
Late June - early October.

Phenology (adult)

Aeshna grandis phenology (all)
Aeshna grandis phenology pre 1980
Aeshna grandis phenology 1980 - 1989
Aeshna grandis phenology 1990 - 1999
Aeshna grandis phenology 2000 - 2009
Aeshna grandis phenology 2010 - 2019
Aeshna grandis phenology 2020 on
Aeshna grandis habitat
1 / 1
Brown Hawker habitat at Reed and fen at Pevensey
Photo: Fran Southgate

Habitat
Large and well-vegetated lakes and ponds, occasionally slow-moving water such as canals.

Conservation
It readily colonises gravel pits, canals and other sites abandoned by industry and then flooded or created as wetland habitat. It can tolerate the residual pollution of many ex-industrial sites.

Similar species
There should be no difficulty in identification of this species given its uniquely chocolate-coloured appearance with brown wings.