Friday, 16 June 2017

Southern Hawker Exuviae

Having started collecting the exuviae of the dragonflies and damselflies in the past few years that I find when I am out in the field, there have been a few species that have eluded me and one of these have been the Southern Hawker. I have no problem finding the adults but have yet to find any good areas where the nymphs are or at least, where I can access to survey the ponds. Thankfully, this changed in dramatic style when I made a visit to west Kent to meet Mark Tomlins who took me to an area within a wood where a good sized pond was. As I started to scan, I could see a good number of hawker exuviae, probably c15 were seen on the underside of the lily pads with more unseen i'm sure. With a bit of effort and wet legs up to the knees, I managed to collect 9 exuviae. On returning home, I consulted a few books and come to the conclusion that they were all Southern Hawker exuviae. I knew straight away when I collected them that they were not Emperor Dragonfly exuviae as the eye shape was wrong so was quite excited that these may well be new exuviae for me. Although not too clear in the shots, one of the key identification features is the shape of the epiproct which when examined through a 10x hand lens, matched the photos I could see in the books. The mask was long and slender in length which shows well and distinguishes it from the Brown Hawker which has a more broad mask. My exuviae collection is continuing to grow and I must admit, I get just as much satisfaction looking and finding these as I do photographing the adults. I still need a Brown Hawker exuviae but I think my next mission will be to see if I can find any Emerald Damselfly exuviae in the next few weeks. I have a good site for these so the next few sessions will be spent searching through the reeds and grasses. Fingers crossed, I may just get lucky.

Southern Hawker Exuviae (side view) 

Southern Hawker Exuviae (side view) 

Southern Hawker Exuviae (side view) 

Southern Hawker Exuviae (top view) 

Southern Hawker Exuviae (underside) 

Southern Hawker Exuviae (view of the mask)


  1. Fantastic, you caught it's excellent, thanks Marc.

  2. Great shots Marc, shows fantastic detail. Looks like something from Alien.
    As I write John is photographing our second emergence from the pond. Sue

    1. Many thanks. Quite often where they emerge, there can be a good few of them so you may have more yet out of your pond.