Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Migrant Hawker

Distribution map of Migrant Hawker in Monmouthshire, March 2024
Distribution map of Migrant Hawker in Monmouthshire, March 2024, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) is a widespread dragonfly in the county, and can occur in quite large numbers at larger waterbodies, outnumbering Southern Hawker (A. cyanea).

The oldest record in our data set is from near Whitson on the eastern Gwent Levels, on an unspecified date in August 1973 (observer P. M. Wade).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

There are many post-2019 records across the Gwent Levels (where it is near-ubiquitous in the west), around Newport and in Torfaen. There are fewer records in the western valleys and in the north of the county, where recent records are mostly from around Blaenavon, Abergavenny and from Monmouth northwest along the Monnow valley.

Current distribution in the county: what we don’t know

As with many species, there are large areas in the north and centre of the county with no records at all. This is almost certainly because no-one has visited sites in these areas recently to record dragonflies, rather than because the species is not present: there is much suitable habitat there.

There are relatively few recent records in the eastern part of the county e.g. none along the Wye Valley, on the Trelleck ridge, or in the area around Chepstow: this is almost certainly not the true position and with more widespread recording, it is likely that the species will be found widely there too.

There are also relatively few recent records in the northwest uplands, but older records here suggest that this may be because of under-recording there in recent years; Migrant Hawker is on the wing quite late in the season, so more visits from August onwards will determine its status there.

Distribution elsewhere

Migrant Hawker is widespread in lowland areas of Wales, but absent or scarce in most upland areas. It is widespread and common throughout much of England, but becomes scarcer in the north and is absent from upland areas, and it is a scarce insect in Scotland. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found widely, from Portugal and southern Ireland east to Russia, and from the Mediterranean north to southern Sweden and southern Finland. It is also found in parts of North Africa and Turkey and its range extends across Asia to the Pacific.