Sussex Dragonfly Group

Migrant Hawker (Scarce Aeshna)
Aeshna mixta Latreille, 1805
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Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

Migrant Hawker
(Scarce Aeshna)
Aeshna mixta

Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

This is our smallest hawker (Aeshna species), with an abdomen well-marked in blue in the male and dull green in the female. It is most abundant in late summer, when numbers are boosted by migration. It is often seen away from water, for example hawking in the tree-tops in sunny woodland glades.

Aeshna mixta
1 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
2 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
3 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
4 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna mixta
5 / 6
Mating
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna mixta
6 / 6
Young male
Photo: Simon Linington

More images

National status
Strongholds in southern England, common all over the Midlands and extending its range to northern England.

Status in Sussex
Occurs throughout the county, but especially in the east (though a slight recent reduction there may reflect recorder coverage), and boosted by immigration in late summer. An exceptional inland record was of 300 recorded at Bewl Water by P. Bance on 11 August 1995.

Distribution at 1km scale

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

Historical records
Lucas and Bloomfield (1905) first reported this species in East Sussex from two sites that were also mentioned by Craven (1922): Camber Sands (1899) and Guestling (1900). When Craven (1922) caught a specimen at Mountfield on 12 August 1916, it was still considered a rare insect. Dannreuther (1945) listed 25 specimens from the Guermonprez collection, with the earliest from West Sussex dated 1894. Chelmick (1979) found it breeding throughout the county and mentioned “huge numbers” flying in off the sea at Beachy Head in September 1975 and 1976, and populations in coastal localities reaching “spectacular proportions”.

Flight times
Late July - early November. The extension of the flight time into November has occurred recently.

Phenology (adult)

Aeshna mixta phenology (all)
Aeshna mixta phenology pre 1980
Aeshna mixta phenology 1980 - 1989
Aeshna mixta phenology 1990 - 1999
Aeshna mixta phenology 2000 - 2009
Aeshna mixta phenology 2010 - 2019
Aeshna mixta phenology 2010 on
Aeshna mixta habitat
1 / 1
Migrant Hawker habitat at Woods Mill
Photo: Simon Linington

Habitat
Mainly still waters such as lakes and ponds, even canals, but can occur almost anywhere, for example in woodland and towns and gardens.

Similar species
See Southern Hawker for a discussion on potential confusion species (and a photographic comparison).

This is our smallest hawker (Aeshna species), with an abdomen well-marked in blue in the male and dull green in the female. It is most abundant in late summer, when numbers are boosted by migration. It is often seen away from water, for example hawking in the tree-tops in sunny woodland glades.

Aeshna mixta
1 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
2 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
3 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Aeshna mixta
4 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna mixta
5 / 6
Mating
Photo: David Sadler
Aeshna mixta
6 / 6
Young male
Photo: Simon Linington

National status
Strongholds in southern England, common all over the Midlands and extending its range to northern England.

Status in Sussex
Occurs throughout the county, but especially in the east (though a slight recent reduction there may reflect recorder coverage), and boosted by immigration in late summer. An exceptional inland record was of 300 recorded at Bewl Water by P. Bance on 11 August 1995.

Distribution at 1km scale

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

Historical records
Lucas and Bloomfield (1905) first reported this species in East Sussex from two sites that were also mentioned by Craven (1922): Camber Sands (1899) and Guestling (1900). When Craven (1922) caught a specimen at Mountfield on 12 August 1916, it was still considered a rare insect. Dannreuther (1945) listed 25 specimens from the Guermonprez collection, with the earliest from West Sussex dated 1894. Chelmick (1979) found it breeding throughout the county and mentioned “huge numbers” flying in off the sea at Beachy Head in September 1975 and 1976, and populations in coastal localities reaching “spectacular proportions”.

Flight times
Late July - early November. The extension of the flight time into November has occurred recently.

Phenology (adult)

Aeshna mixta phenology (all)
Aeshna mixta phenology pre 1980
Aeshna mixta phenology 1980 - 1989
Aeshna mixta phenology 1990 - 1999
Aeshna mixta phenology 2000 - 2009
Aeshna mixta phenology 2010 - 2019
Aeshna mixta phenology 2020 on
Aeshna mixta habitat
1 / 1
Migrant Hawker habitat at Woods Mill
Photo: Simon Linington

Habitat
Mainly still waters such as lakes and ponds, even canals, but can occur almost anywhere, for example in woodland and towns and gardens.

Similar species
See Southern Hawker for a discussion on potential confusion species (and a photographic comparison).