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Emperor dragonfly

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Emperor dragonfly
Emperor dragonfly perching.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Anax imperator

The Emperor Dragonfly is a species of dragonfly known by the scientific name Anax imperator . Its extravagant colors of sky blue and bright green gives it the appearance of royalty from which its name is derived.


Close up of Emperor dragonfly anatomy.

In males the Emperor Dragonfly has a green thorax with a black stripe on the dorsal side over a bright blue abdomen. In females both the thorax and abdomen share the color green. [1]

In warm weather the female abdomen can change to blue, making it harder to differentiate male from female. Both males and females share either green or blue eyes and rank as the largest dragonfly in Britain. [2] Being one of the largest dragonflies, the adult can grow up to three inches and the larvae to two inches. Their wingspan can grow up to four inches with two pair of wings which beat ten times slower than bees. [3]


female ovipositing (laying eggs).

Females have an organ called ovipositor where eggs are deposited. Larvae usually live underwater until matured into an adult. The mother, for protection, slits open pondweed as she places them inside the leaves so fish and other pond life can’t eat them. Dragonflies’ mating is usually spent in branches around their pond but can persist in the air. Males attract females by following her until he is capable of performing sexual intercourse. [4] For females during mating season they come to the pond to find a mate and if a male is successful he will introduce sperm and will impregnate the female. [5]


The emperor dragonflies prey consists of butterflies, four spotted chasers and tadpoles. When food is small it is eaten on the wing. In Europe they are the largest flying species. [6] These dragonflies are useful because they are predators to damaging bugs. [7]


Male emperor dragonflies are highly territorial protecting his pond from other male dragonflies. They arrive usually taking over the hairy dragonflies territory because the hairy dragonfly reaches the extent of their season. [8] The male dragonfly is usually found in the air looking for a female, food or intruders. If intruders are found then the male will fly underneath him until forced to leave his territory.[9] Dragonflies territory can be up to fifty meters of stagnant water. Sometimes if found an intruder their can be battles between dragonflies over territory.[10]


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