Aeshna affinis Vander Linden, 1820
Blue-eyed Hawker

Type locality: Bologna, Italy


In flight often confused with the related and similarly small A. mixta. Males are often observed when making low patrols over drying wetlands, showing their noticeably bright colours. The male’s vivid blue eyes and abdomen and largely green thorax sides are especially distinctive, reminiscent of a miniature Anax imperator. Size and build as A. mixta, but male lacks yellow T-marking on S2. Sides of thorax green, with fine black lines along sutures, but with only small green antehumeral stripes (unlike also green-sided A. cyanea). Blue markings on the male abdomen are brighter and more extensive than in A. mixta, most noticeable being the larger middle spot-pairs on S3-7 and the all-blue S2 with its characteristic black mask-like marking. The green- or yellow-marked females (and young males) also appear brighter and paler than A. mixta. See A. mixta for venational peculiarities of both these species. Pterostigma of A. affinis is longer than in A. mixta. Male upper appendage has a blunt tooth on underside near base, unlike A. mixta, (view from side). Female appendages are shorter than S9-10 combined. Mature males develop a blue hue on green thorax. Like other Aeshna, females may develop male colours, an especially startling phenomenon in this bright species. This is the only Aeshna that lays its eggs in tandem. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

Habitat description

Standing and mostly temporary waters in open landscapes. Usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation, and a soft (like muddy) bottom. Inferred to occur from 0 to 1700 m above sea level, but mostly below 200.


confirmed: Algeria; Morocco; Tunisia

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.


  • Vander Linden, P.L. (1820). Aeshnae Bononienses descriptae, adjecta ejusdem annotatione ad Agriones Bononienses. Typographiae Annesii de Nobilibus, Bononiae, 1-11.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2021-09-27].