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dragonfly Emperor Dragonflies

Identify It >   Invertebrates Section >   Dragonflies Section >   Emperor Dragonflies >

Scientific name:  Anax imperator

Size:  Wingspan up to 110mm.  Length up to 80mm

Distribution:  Found in England and Wales, more frequently in the south

Months seen:  Late May to early September

Life Span:  Approximately 2 years, most of which is spent in the aquatic larval stage

Habitat:  Slow moving rivers, ponds and lakes with plenty of aquatic vegetation

Food:  Insects (which are caught on the wing)

Special features:  Emperor Dragonflies are one of the largest dragonflies in Europe, and one of the fastest fliers.  They tend to hover, high above the water in a very regal fashion, before launching themselves like an arrow at their prey.  They're most active at midday.

The abdomen of the male Emperor Dragonfly is bright blue with a bold black line running along the top.  The thorax is a bright green colour.  The female Emperor Dragonfly (Empress?) has a greenish abdomen, and juveniles have a yellow-brown abdomen.

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