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. The species is also found on the island of Newfoundland.


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] In the summer months Emperor dragonflies are frequent visitors to gardens, being especially prevalent in the southern counties of Great Britain.


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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