Tuesday 30 July 2019

Dragonflies to watch for in August

In this fourth and last instalment of the series on dragonflies to watch out in and around Hull I present five species that have their peak flight season in August.
13. Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea. A large and colourful dragonfly which is hard to miss, as it likes to hawk low on shaded paths. It has a peculiar behaviour consisting in approaching people as if it was curious and was checking you out! It starts to emerge in mid-June and flies until late October, with a long peak from mid July to early September.
15. Ruddy Darter, Sympetrum striolatum. A small, compact dragonfly. Legs are black in both sexes (unlike Common Darter, see below). Males are blood-red and there is no yellow band on side of the thorax, which is reddish brown. It flies from mid June to early October. Peaks in July-August.
16. Small red-eyed damselfly, Eryhthroma viridulum. A small damselfly with red-eyed males. Close examination or photos are ideal for identification, as it differs in the pattern of blue in the tail from the closely related Red-eyed Damselfly. Short and late flight season from mid July to early September, peaking in mid August. Known from Oak Road Lake and East Park. Recent colonist, increasing its range so there is potential to discover new sites.
13. Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta. The first individuals tend to appear in the last week of July. Peaks end of August and has a long season, extending until November if weather is mild. It has a long immature stage and wandering habits away from water, which means that it is a species easy to record even in pond-less gardens. It hunts at tree canopy level. Smaller than other hawkers in the area. Individuals can hunt in small parties, with no signs of aggression, often resting near each other, hanging from their perches.
14. Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum. The commonest darter in our area. They have a yellow stripe alongside each leg and yellow panels on the side of the thorax. Eyes are green or red on top and yellow below. Males are orange-red (above) with two yellow panels on the side of the thorax. Females have an all yellow side of thorax (below). Late and long season, from June until November, peaking at the end of August.

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