Broad Bodied Chaser - Libellula depressa

Scientific Name: Libellula depressa.

English Name: Broad Bodied Chaser.

French Name: La Libellule déprimée.

5 Key Characters:
  • very broad flat abdomen.
  • mature males have blue abdomens, females have yellowy brown, edged with yellow crescents.
  • base of hind wings have a large black patch and forewings have a smaller black mark at the base.
  • large (39 - 48 mm long).
  • thick whitish stripes on the 'shoulders' (antehumeral stripes).
Lookalikes: Other Libellula or Orthetrum spp, but none have such a wide abdomen.

Habitat: Often the first species to adopt newly created habitat, but once the vegetation grows up around a new water body they will be present in much lower numbers. A wide range of still (or nearly still) waters, especially if they are small, shallow, sunny and open with lots of bare earth eg. stock watering pools, lakes in disused quarries or other similar situations, marshes, ditches, ponds, fish ponds (étangs), lakes, oxbow lakes, calm parts of large water courses. They will tolerate eutrophic conditions (waters polluted by high levels of organic matter) and other types of slightly polluted or brackish water. When it is sunny males sit out on dry stems or bankside bushes, aggressively darting out to challenge and chase off rivals.

Flight Period: April-May-June-July-August-September. In flight they zoom about, 'starfighter' style.

Status: One of the commonest species.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. Row 1 - 3 juvenile females congregating in bushes along a wooded farm track in the Brenne, May. Row 4 left as previous row; centre male on the fringes of the Parc de Boussay, quite a long way from water, June; right an aged male at the étang de la Rolle in the Foret de Preuilly, June. Row 5 left Libellulid dragonfly emerging (probably a Broad-Bodied Chaser), at the Etang de la Rolle in the Foret de Preuilly, June; centre left & right, right empty Libellulid exuviae (nymph cases), probably Broad-Bodied Chaser, at the Etang de la Rolle in the Foret de Preuilly, June. Row 6 as Row 5 left.

Female, May, in vegetation by an étang near la Maison du Parc, the Brenne.



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