Name: Hairy Dragonfly
Scientific name: Brachrytron pratense
Nature Stars: 70
About: A medium-sized hawker-type dragonfly, about 8 cm long. 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. The earliest dragonfly, on the wing during May and June. Found around water bodies with plenty of different plants: ditches in grazing marshes, gravel pits and canals are particularly good spots to look.
How to identify: If seen well, the short hairs all over the body make the Hairy Dragonfly unmistakeable. Also on the wing earlier than the other, larger blue-spotted black 'hawker' type dragonflies.
Where: A local species, found in small pockets of southern and eastern England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Fantastic fact: The Hairy Dragonfly was until recently a very rare animal in this country, found only on the best grazing marshes and wetlands. It has recently expanded its range and started turning up in many more places, perhaps as a result of climate change.
Photograph credit: Walwyn