The Green Hawker (Aeshna viridis) is about the same size as the much commoner Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), while in terms of coloration it looks like a smaller version of the Blue Emperor (Anax imperator), with its thorax a vivid apple-green and its abdomen black-and-blue (in the male) or green-and-brown (in the female). The species occurs mainly in the North-East of Europe, with only a few more westerly outposts (notably in the Netherlands and Northern Germany). We first saw Aeshna viridis at a few sites in Finland but did not manage to photograph it well at all on those occasions. These sites - narrow canals with, interestingly, no sign of the Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides) on which the species supposedly depends - were flanked by barley and wheat fields, and the animals were not interested in our camera - they just wanted to play hide-and-seek in the wheat fields. More recently, we saw the species again in the North of the Netherlands and this time there were no wheat fields to hide in. And so we managed, still with some difficulty, to photograph a number of males and females, and a copula. Note how all of the animals we photographed had badly damaged wings. The reason for this was probably twofold: we saw the animals at the tail end of their flight season, at which stage most species typically show a good deal of wear and tear. But more importantly, these damaged wings may have been the result of "chafing"; as a female descends into a rosette of Water Soldier to lay her eggs, her wings get chafed by the spiny, serrated leaves of the plant. And similarly, a male going down into a rosette to look for egg-laying females will get his wings damaged in the same manner.
For an overview of the Green Hawker's distribution in Europe, hover your mouse pointer over the map symbol .
With the authors' permission we have based this map on data published in Kalkman et al. (2010).
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