Belongs to: hawkers

Hairy dragonfly Brachytron pratense

Best time to see: mid May to end Jun

Key facts

A scarce hawker dragonfly, among the earliest to emerge in late spring

Likes well-vegetated ditches and dykes such as are found in coastal grazing marshes

Localised distribution across southern England, south Wales and Ireland


Has a noticeably downy thorax; male has paired blue pear-shaped spots along the abdomen, female similar yellow spots

Males patrol still waters with a low, zig-zagging flight; females more secretive, resting among tall vegetation

Usually the earliest hawker to emerge, from early May on


Females lay eggs into submerged plant material, usually close to the water's edge, and these hatch in 3–4 weeks

After hatching, the larvae prey on a wide range of underwater creatures, remaining in the water for at least two years

Larvae climb a plant stem in late spring then split their skins and emerge as a fully grown adult

© Chris Gibson

© Ted Benton