Evening Hawker (Anaciaeschna triangulifera)

View the above photo record (by Diana Russell) in OdonataMAP here.

Find the Evening Hawker in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Aeshnidae

Anaciaeschna trianguliferaEVENING HAWKER


Very large size

Length reaches 69mm; Wingspan attains 94mm.

Adult males are unmistakable.

Females and young males could be confused with other Hawker species. Perhaps most likely to be confused with Pinheyschna subpupillata (Stream Hawker) or Zosteraeschna minuscula (Friendly Hawker). They can be distinguished by the lack of green patches on the ‘shoulders’ of the thorax and and the diagnostic forehead markings.

Click here for more details on identification of the Evening Hawker.

Anaciaeschna triangulifera – Male
Enseleni Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Associated with forests and dense woodlands adjoining wetlands such as lakes, marshes, rivers and pans. Usually seen hunting over reed beds, marshes, grassy clearings and around tree canopies at dusk. During the day it rests away from water in dense, shaded areas.

Habitat – Muzi Pan, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett
Habitat – Kosi Bay, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


The Evening Hawker is crepuscular, being most active at dusk. Often gregarious when hunting and frequently joins mixed species feeding swarms at dusk. May also be active on very humid days, before and after rain. Spends most daylight hours at rest in dense shaded vegetation. Hangs vertically when perched.

Status and Conservation

Scarce to locally common in South Africa. Listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Anaciaeschna triangulifera is moderately sensitive to habitat disturbance. It can, however, be found at suitable man-made habitats, and in areas with some alien plants.


Anaciaeschna triangulifera is found in Southern and East Africa, From Ethiopia in the north down to the Western Cape in South Africa. The species also occurs on Madagascar.

Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Evening Hawker in the OdonataMAP database as at February 2020.

The next map below is an imputed map, produced by an interpolation algorithm, which attempts to generate a full distribution map from the partial information in the map above. This map will be improved by the submission of records to the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum.

Ultimately, we will produce a series of maps for all the odonata species in the region. The current algorithm is a new algorithm. The objective is mainly to produce “smoothed” maps that could go into a field guide for odonata. This basic version of the algorithm (as mapped above) does not make use of “explanatory variables” (e.g. altitude, terrain roughness, presence of freshwater — we will be producing maps that take these variables into account soon). Currently, it only makes use of the OdonataMAP records for the species being mapped, as well as all the other records of all other species. The basic maps are “optimistic” and will generally show ranges to be larger than what they probably are.

These maps use the data in the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum, and also the database assembled by the previous JRS funded project, which was led by Professor Michael Samways and Dr KD Dijkstra.

Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Dragonfly Atlas: Megan Loftie-Eaton, Sally Hofmeyr, Ryan Tippett & Les Underhill
Megan Loftie-Eaton is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. Sally Hofmeyr has many years' experience in the academic world, writing her own material and editing the work of others. Her academic background is in the natural sciences: her PhD and first postdoc in ornithology and environmental change (Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town). Ryan Tippett is an enthusiastic contributor to Citizen Science and has added many important and interesting records of fauna and flora. He has been a member of the VMU since 2014 and has currently submitted over 11000 records. He is also on the expert identification panel for the Odonata Map project. Prof Les Underhill has been Director of the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town since it started in 1991. Although citizen science in biology is Les’s passion, his academic background is in mathematical statistics.