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Emperor Dragonfly

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Our biggest dragonfly, predominantly blue in colour and usually seen near fresh water; pond, lake, river, gravel pit or canal.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Emperor Dragonfly: in its birthday suit

Post date: Tuesday, 3 February, 2015 - 00:00

The Emperor's new clothes? Well, this emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) looks splendid in its birthday suit! This is undoubtedly our most impressive dragonfly, the biggest and most beautiful; whoever named it certainly chose well. In some years they seem quite scarce, other years almost common. Quite often they are confused with the southern hawker which is also a blue colour but once you have seen the emperor dragonfly I doubt you ever forget it. 

They are very active dragonflies, constantly patrolling their territory and will see off any intruder, be it another emperor or any other species for that matter. What he really is looking for is, of course, a mate and does not want any competition should a female come his way. They rarely seem to settle and you need to keep a constant eye on them and wait for some time before they go to ground and you get the chance to take a closer look. You rarely see an emperor away from fresh water, be that a pond, lake, river, gravel pit or canal; its is where they hunt for food and where the females will lay their eggs. Look out for them from June to September although they do seem more common later in the year.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Emperor Dragonfly
Scientific Name Anax imperator
Interest Level
Species Family Dragonflies
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species