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Anax imperator - Emperor dragonfly

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Odonata - Family: Aeschnidae

Emperor dragonfly, Yorkshire

The largest of the hawker dragonflies found in Britain, this is a common species in southern England and Wales.

Emperor Dragonfly and it reflection

On reflection: A female Emperor Dragonfly and its image on the surface of a pond

The male (below) has a bright blue body, while the female, seen above laying eggs on emergent vegetation, has a greenish tinge, becoming gradually bluer when old.

A male Emperor dragonfly hunting small insects over a pond in early summer
A male Emperor dragonfly hunting small insects above a pond. This photograph was taken in late June.

Mainly seen over ponds, canals or slow-flowing streams, this beautiful insect flies for long periods without resting, which makes it a difficult dragonfly to study.

A female Emperor Dragonfly laying eggs

The female Emperor (or should that be Empress?) Dragonfly is so engrossed in the task of depositing eggs on the edge of a Broad-Leaved Pondweed leaf that she ignores the damselfly that has alighted on her wing. This remarkable picture was taken in North Yorkshire by Rex Bradshaw, to whom we are most grateful for this contribution to the page.


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