Genus Aeshna Fabricius, 1775
mosaic hawkers

Type species: Libellula grandis Linnaeus, 1758


For a full introduction to this genus, please refer to: Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & R. Lewington, 2006. Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320. Until recently, as many as 80 species were classified in Aeshna worldwide, most of them American and Eurasian, but the sub-Saharan species have now been separated as the genera Afroaeschna, Pinheyschna and Zosteraeschna. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]



Specialists do not regard all species as closely related, A. isoceles being notably different. The species have dark bodies inlaid with coloured bands on the thorax and ‘mosaics’ of spots on the abdomen. The wings have a median space (large central space at base) without cross-veins. Fields before medial supplement and radial supplement have three or more irregular rows of cells. Male has auricles and an anal triangle of 2-4 cells (except A. isoceles). Anax differs in shape and wing venation, but is ruled out in the field by the plain thorax and pale abdomen with a black band on the upperside. Boyeria has cross-veins in the median space. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

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.


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B., and Lewington, R. (2006). Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, 1-320.
  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Longfield, C. (1936). Studies on African Odonata, with synonymy and descriptions of new species and subspecies. Transactions Royal Entomological Society London, 85, 467-498. [PDF file]
  • Balinsky, B.I. (1961). Observations on the dragonfly fauna of the coastal region of Zululand, with descriptions of three new species (Odonata). Journal Entomological Society Southern Africa, 24, 72-91. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Barnard, K.H. (1937). Notes on dragon-flies (Odonata) of the S. W. Cape with descriptions of the nymphs and of new species. Annals South African Museum, 32, 169-260. [PDF file]
  • Fraser, F.C. (1955). Odonata. Exploration Parc National Upemba. Mission G F de Witte, 38, 1-34. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-21].