Site address
(not postal)

Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT

Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)

The Emperor Dragonfly is the largest British dragonfly seen mainly in the South of England and in Wales. It is fast-flying and has a wingspan of 10.5 cm. The male has a deep blue abdomen, the female's is greenish coloured.

It lives by large, well-vegetated ponds, by lakes and gravel pits, and sometimes by canals and ditches from June to late August, continually flying back and forth in search of prey. It feeds on other flying insects, including smaller dragonflies.

The female lays her eggs into aquatic plants, often some distance from the water's edge. The eggs hatch in about three weeks.

The larvae feed on a wide range of water creatures, and they remain in the water for up to two years.

In early summer the larvae climb a plant stem, split their skins and emerge as adults.