Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
(1/200th sec at f11. Approx 1.75x life size. Click image for larger version.)
(1/320th sec at f13. Approx 1.75x life size. Click image for larger version.)
(1/200th sec at f14. Approx 1.75x life size. Click image for larger version.)
(1/125th sec at f11. Approx 1.75x life size. Click image for larger version.)
© David Hastings
DescriptionWing span: 64 - 76 mm; Body length: 39 - 48 mm
This species has a very broad, flattened abdomen, which makes the insect appear fat. Both sexes have pale blue, thin ante-humeral stripes and brown eyes. The wing bases and wing spots are very dark brown. Males quickly develop a blue pruinescence on the abdomen with yellow spots along the segment sides. Females are a golden brown on the abdomen, again with yellow spots at the margins. Sometimes old females can develop limited pruinosity, but it is not as extensive as that in the male.
It is found in England and Wales.
Its prefered habitat is a wide range of mostly stagnant waters, especially those which are small, shallow, sunny and bare. It is usually quick to colonise new ponds.
Eggs are laid in flight. They hatch after about three weeks and the larvae live in bottom sediment. Nymphs take between one and three years to mature into adults. The flight period is from May to August.
Males are aggressively territorial, taking up positions on bankside vegetation, from where they launch missions to chase intruders or intercept females.
Fairly common in southern Britain.