Emperor (dragonfly)

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Emperor dragonfly
Anax imperator qtl2.jpg
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) female.JPG
Whitecross Green Wood, Oxfordshire
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Aeshnidae
Genus: Anax
Species: A. imperator
Binomial name
Anax imperator
Leach, 1815

Anax mauricianus
Anax mauritianus (lapsus)

The emperor dragonfly[2] or blue emperor[1] (Anax imperator) is a large species of hawker dragonfly of the family Aeshnidae, averaging 78 millimetres (3.1 in) in length.[2] It is found mainly in Europe and nearby Africa and Asia.


They frequently fly high up into the sky in search of prey, which includes butterflies, Four-spotted Chasers and tadpoles; small prey is eaten while flying. They breed in a variety of aquatic habitats from large ponds to dykes, but they require a plentiful supply of vegetation in the water. The females lay the eggs into plants such as pondweed, and always lay alone. The male is highly territorial, and difficult to approach.[3]


When they first emerge, both sexes appear pale green with brown markings. The legs are brown with a yellow like base. Wings are born black but grow yellow-brown with age. Males have a sky blue abdomen marked with a diagnostic black dorsal stripe and an apple green thorax. The thorax and head of a male is green and their prominent eyes are blue. Females have similar markings but they are mainly green.[3]


  1. ^ a b Clausnitzer, V. (2006). "Anax imperator". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Emperor". British Dragonfly Society. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Emperor dragonfly videos, photos and facts — Anax imperator". ARKive. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 

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