Blue Emperor Anax imperator

Scientific Name:  Anax imperator. (Aeshnidae.)

English Name:  Blue Emperor or Emperor Dragonfly. (Hawker family.)

French Name:  L'Anax empereur (='emperor dragonfly').

5 Key Characters:  
  • the largest dragonfly you will see here.
  • plain apple green thorax.
  • males have blue abdomens, females green (sometimes blue), both with a black central stripe.
  • blue green eyes.
  • abdomen on patrolling males curves down somewhat.

Lookalikes: Other Anax spp, which are browner and much rarer. Hawker Aeshna spp, which are smaller.

Habitat:  Still permanent water bodies, especially if large expanses and well vegetated. A mainly lowland species. Males incessantly patrol territories over the water, and sometimes well away from the water. They hunt and eat other dragonflies, even as big as Broad-bodied Chasers Libellula depressa and Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata. Females lay eggs alone and unprotected by the male in floating vegetation.

Flight Period: May-June-July-August-September. They usually emerge (ie transform from a larva to an adult) on hot nights. The adults have a lifespan of 2 - 3 weeks.

Status: Very common. A species that is expanding its range to the north with climate change.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
Female consuming a Flesh Fly Sarcophagidae in a wheat field.

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