Hairy Dragonfly
Brachytron pratense

Easily identifiable as the first of the large 'hawker' dragonflies to appear in the season, with a flight season unlikely to overlap that of the similar Southern or Migrant Hawker species.

The Hairy Dragonfly first surfaces in early May, and is rarely seen later than the end of June. Toward the end of their season their presence may overlap with the Emperor, that can often be observed in the same locations. However the Hairy flight path is generally about 1-2 feet above the water's surface, whereas the Emperor will 'hawk' at a slightly higher altitude.

Males very rarely perch, and this coupled with their rarity make them one of the most challenging of species to photograph. Females can occasionally be observed ovipositing into floating wood and vegetation.

locations media gallery

Very rare in the New Forest, can be found at Needs Ore on the Beaulieu River, Titchfield Haven and also at Delph Woods in East Dorset. Hairys tend to favour dense reed beds and often perch high in the tree line.

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seasonal appearance distinguishing features

Male and females have a distinct hairy thorax (hence the name). Females have a dull brown colouration with yellow markings on each abdominal segment. Males have a distinct green and black thorax, with green abdominal markings giving way to blue toward the end of the abdomen.