Emperor Dragonfly - Anax imperator
Adult sizeOverall length: 64 - 84mm Hindwing length: 45 - 51mm
Distinguishing featuresBritain’s largest, heaviest and most impressive dragonfly. An early summer species. The brightly coloured turquoise and apple green males coupled with their aggressive territorial behaviour make this one of most well known and easily recognisable dragonflies.
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
HabitatMostly associated with large, well vegetated ponds and lakes, but may be found over canals and slow moving rivers. Common in garden ponds.
BehaviourVisit any decent sized pond in early summer and you will probably encounter a male Emperor patrolling it. They are very territorial and will chase other males and investigate other species. Will fly away from water however to hunt. Females are often visible laying eggs on floating vegetation and will do so alone.
Status and distributionVery common in southern and central England and south Wales. Slowly spreading northwards and westwards. Common and widespread in Dorset.
Flight periodMain flight period is May to September, peaking between mid June to mid August.
The bright unique colouring and patterns of the adults & aggressive behaviour of the males make this species very distinctive. Only confusion could be with rare migrant Lesser Emperor.
Click on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.