Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Species
Male Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator). Taken at Otmoor, Oxon. Approx 2x lifesize.
Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on July 4th 2015. Click image for larger version.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 1x life size)
`Immature Emperor. Taken at Whelford Pools, Glos, on July 19th 2010. Approx 2x lifesize.
Teneral. Taken at Whelford Pools, Glos, on July 19th 2010. Click image for larger version.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 1x life size)
`Female Emperor. Taken at Pinail, France on June 27th 2010. Approx 2x lifesize.
Ovipositing female. Taken at Pinail, France on June 27th 2010. Click image for larger version.
(1/250th sec at F13. Approx 1x life size)

© David Hastings

Description

Wing span: 90 - 104 mm; Body length: 66 - 84 mm
 
This is the largest aeshnid in most of Europe. Males are unmistakable due to their size, unmarked green thorax and blue abdomen with a black mid-dorsal stripe. The female is green with a black dorsal stripe. Tenerals are pale green and have brown rather than black markings on the abdomen. Both sexes have a yellow costa and brown wing spots.
 
It is most commonly found south of a line between the Wash and the Severn estuary. It is also found further north, in south Wales and southern Ireland.
 
This species prefers standing waters, often large and well-vegetated. It also breeds in new ponds and can tolerate brackish water.
 
The female lays eggs alone, usually well offshore, typically into pondweed. The eggs hatch after about three weeks. The larvae usually take two years to mature. The flight period is June to August.
 
Males are highly territorial and vigorously defend their territory against all incomers. They catch and eat prey on the wing, although larger prey items like butterflies are eaten at rest.
 
Common and widespread in southern England.
 

Sightings

06-Aug-2016:Greenham Common, Berks(3)
06-Aug-2016:Fence Wood, Berks(1)
16-Jul-2016:Silchester Common, Hants(1m)
16-Jul-2016:Crookham Common, Berks(1m,1f)
11-Jul-2016:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(4)
11-Jul-2016:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(1)
04-Jul-2016:Leighton Moss, Lancashire(3)
26-Jun-2016:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(3m)
25-Jun-2016:Whelford Pools, Glos(1m,1f)
19-Jun-2016:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(2)

15-Aug-2015:Rushy Common, Oxon(1m,1f)
18-Jul-2015:Silchester Common, Hants(3)
18-Jul-2015:Crookham Common, Berks(1)
09-Jul-2015:University Parks, Oxford, Oxon(1)
04-Jul-2015:Otmoor, Oxon(1)
04-Jul-2015:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(3)
03-Jul-2015:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(5)
03-Jul-2015:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(4)
21-Jun-2015:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(7 imm.)
15-Jun-2015:Collard Hill, Somerset(1)

03-Aug-2014:Otmoor, Oxon(1)
12-Jul-2014:Watlington Hill, Oxon(1)
12-Jul-2014:Homefield Wood, Bucks(1)
06-Jul-2014:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(4)
06-Jul-2014:Bernwood Forest, Bucks(1)
25-Jun-2014:General Todorov, Bulgaria
24-Jun-2014:Mesta River fishponds, Bulgaria
15-Jun-2014:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(1)
25-May-2014:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(3)

04-Aug-2013:Greenham Common, Berks(1m)
08-Jul-2013:Whelford Pools, Glos(1m)
06-Jul-2013:Decoy Heath, Berks(1m)
06-Jul-2013:Ashford Hill NNR, Hants(1m)
30-Jun-2013:Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon(1m)