Hairy dragonfly

Brachrytron pratense


The hairy dragonfly is a medium-sized hawker found around waterbodies with plenty of different plants: ditches in grazing marshes, gravel pits and canals are particularly good spots to look. The earliest dragonfly to emerge in the UK, it is on the wing during May and June. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover and fly backwards.

How to identify

The hairy dragonfly is mostly black in colour. The male has pale blue pear-shaped spots all along the body, blue eyes and broad lime-green patches on the thorax. The female has yellowish spots and brownish eyes. If seen well, the short hairs all over the body make the hairy dragonfly unmistakeable. Also on the wing earlier than other hawker dragonflies.

Where to find it

A local species, found in small pockets of southern and eastern England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

When to find it

  • May
  • June

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including the hairy dragonfly. But these precious sites are under threat from development, drainage and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Hairy dragonfly
Latin name
Brachrytron pratense
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 5.5cm
Conservation status