Four-spotted Chaser - Libellula quadrimaculata
Adult sizeOverall length: 44 - 48mm Hindwing length: 32 - 40mm
Distinguishing featuresOne of Britain’s commonest dragonflies found in many still water sites including garden ponds. Has four distinctive ‘spots’ on both wings and a distinctive tapering body. Sexes are virtually identical.
Mature males - for help with terms see glossary
HabitatOccurs in a wide range of still water habitats and can tolerate a range of conditions including acidic and brackish waters. Often associated with heathland and moorland but will also be found in garden ponds. A rapid coloniser of new sites.
BehaviourFour-spotted Chaser males are extremely aggressive and will actively defend a small pond or patch within a larger pond chasing away other males and other species. The males will repeated use the same perch, the stem of reed for example and are very easily approached. For unfortunate females they can often be pursued by more than one male at a time when they come to water to breed. Both sexes will fly away from water to hunt and will often be encountered on open heathland.
Status and distributionVery common throughout Britain except the north east. Common and widespread in Dorset especially on heathland sites.
Flight periodMain flight period is April to September, peaking between June and July.
The brown-black tapering abdomen and 4 ‘spot’ pattern on the wings make this quite difficult to confuse with other species. The colours of female Broad-bodied Chaser and Scarce Chaser may look similar though body shapes are very different in these two species.
Click on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.