In my search so far in the past two years for dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, I have only once managed to come across a Brown Hawker nymph. Just like the adults that are one of the hardest dragonflies to photograph in my opinion due to them being very wary, it seems that the nymphs are just as hard to locate. I have spent many hours trying to locate this species again in areas where I have seen them before but always seem to find more Emperor Dragonfly nymphs when searching. It was by accident really that I managed to catch the individual I did but as at first, I wasn't sure what it was but had my suspicions. Having returned home with the nymph for some photography in my indoor tanks, I looked through a few books and photos on the internet and soon confirmed that it was a Brown Hawker nymph, the dark banding on the legs and the pale stripes on the thorax extending on to the head confirming this for me. I spent a number of evenings photographing the nymph indoors and spent many hours watching it in the tank hunting small prey. Of all the hawker nymphs I have photographed at home so far which is not that many, the Brown Hawker nymph seems to have the most attitude. If I tried to tease it into a position to be photographed, it would swing round its abdomen quite ferociously and smack anything in its way. No doubt this is a way of protecting itself in case of danger but quite effective. It was interesting watching the nymph hunting. By day I saw lots of prey pass by quite close and most of the time, the nymph didn't seem interested but at night, it was a completely different story. For most part, it would stalk its prey very slowly until within reach where in the blink of an eye, the jaws would shoot out and attempt to catch the prey. Its strike rate was not the greatest with a lot of prey hit but not captured but when it did connect, there was no getting away as it fed. I continued to monitor and learn through observations before returning it back to the water. A year or so later and I still await finding another one to photograph and hopefully watch emerge but I will continue the search and you never know, I might get lucky. Thankfully, I took many photos of the nymph and although I published a few last year, there are many photos I have not yet published. This has to be one of my favorite nymphs, the cryptic colours and secret lifestyle of this superb hunter all add to the excitement of watching my first Brown Hawker of the year later this year.
Brown Hawker Nymph