Aeshna cyanea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Odonata Aeshnidae

Scientific Name: Aeshna cyanea (Müller, 1764)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Blue Hawker, Southern Hawker
French Aeschne Bleue, L'aeschne Bleue
Libellula cyanea Müller, 1764
Taxonomic Source(s): Schorr, M. and Paulson, D. 2013. World Odonata List. Tacoma, Washington, USA Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2016-06-15
Assessor(s): Boudot, J.-P.
Reviewer(s): Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & Clausnitzer, V.
Contributor(s): Kalkman, V.J.
Aeshna cyanea is common in a large part of Europe and found locally in North Africa. It is found in a wide variety of habitats which are not under pressure and are sometimes artificial. The species is rather tolerant to man-made habitats. It is therefore considered as being of Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Aeshna cyanea has a western Palaearctic distribution and almost its whole range lies within Europe. It is most abundant in western and central Europe, where it can be met over any kind of habitats, but has its original habitats in small, often forested ponds. It does not occur in Ireland except in cases of vagrancy, and becomes rarer in the north of Great Britain. In Fennoscandia it is found in the southern third of Finland and Sweden and in the southernmost part of Norway. The species is presently expanding its range towards the north and is less rare in e.g. Scotland and South Fennoscandia  than in the past. To the east it occurs up to the Ural and doesn't seem to penetrate in the West Siberian lowland. The species becomes scarcer to the south of Europe and is lacking from e.g. the main part of Greece and some Mediterranean islands (Sardinia, Crete, all Aegean islands, Cyprus). It is highly localized in northern Africa with only few sites in Algerian and Tunisian mountains. In the Balkans, it remains mainly confined to mountain areas. In the Ukraine, it is distributed mostly in the West, although recent findings originate from the Crimean highlands. In Asia Minor, the species is confined to the northern mountains of Anatolia and to the South Caucasian countries (Armenia, Georgia), from which it extends up to the mountains of northern Iran.
Countries occurrence:
Åland Islands; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Georgia (Abkhaziya, Adzhariya, Gruziya); Germany; Greece (Greece (mainland)); Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Isle of Man; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sicilia); Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, East European Russia, European Russia, South European Russia); Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:106732Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:12000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:106732-150000Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is abundant over the middle European latitudes up to the Baltic States and western Ukraine. More to the east as well as in northern and southern Europe, the species is much more scattered.
Although large populations are known, adults are generally seen as isolated non-territorial wandering individuals. During these long-distance patrol flights, they visit any kinds of habitat, searching for females, and are found as isolated individuals. In huge populations, the males become territorial and remain in a given locality, fighting to exclude their congeners (Kaiser 1974, 1984; Poethke 1988).
Populations are stable over most of the species' range and are even increasing in Scotland and Fennoscandia. In southern Europe, there is a risk of decrease due to climate change, but this is presently not documented.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Aeshna cyanea is mostly found in standing and running waters with a slow current. It has a clear preference for small and at least partly shaded waters. When it occurs at larger water bodies it shows a clear preference for those parts which are visually apart from the main part of the water, for instance isolated by some higher vegetation (reeds, etc). The species needs waters where at least parts of the bottom are free of emerging vegetation. These situations can be found in pools which are still in the early stages of succession or, more often, in pools where leaves from nearby trees and bushes cover a part of the bottom. It is often the only dragonfly to be present in small, largely shaded forest pools often with no substrate other than leaf litter and in this situation larvae can occur in very high densities. In Western and Central Europe, it is also one of the most common dragonflies at garden ponds. Larvae are able to resist weeks of desiccation.

Adult males are either wandering or territorial, depending on the habitat and population density (Kaiser 1974, 1984; Poethke 1988). Due to wandering and dispersion, and locally to territoriality and mutual exclusion, often only a small fraction of the actual adult population is seen at the waterside. For these reasons, many adults are found in forests where they often hunt low by the ground in the shade of trees or bushes and even search for females at water puddles on forest tracks.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Movement patterns:Nomadic

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilised.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is common in most of its range and occurs in habitats that are not threatened in any way, and even in man-made habitats. A future decrease in the south due to global change may be expected but is not presently documented.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No specific measures are needed for this species.

Citation: Boudot, J.-P. 2018. Aeshna cyanea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T165524A83891998. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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