Very large, bright blue and black. Hawks across pools and dams with abundance of fringing reeds. Throughout SA.
Widespread and com-mon throughout SA, from sea level to 2000 m a.s.l. Continental Africa, to Europe and W Asia.
Face: all light to greenish blue. Frons above with transverse dark smudge and black, basal spot. Vertex greenish blue. Eyes: bright blue above, greenish blue below. More greenish in younger individuals. Synthorax: mid-green, but with two, dorsal, turquoise triangles. Wings: clear when young, becoming smoky in old individuals. Veins brown. Pterostigmas: long (4.8-5 mm), reddish brown. Abdomen: bright, blue, with black patches, especially above. Female: with yellow and green face, with black dot on dorsal surface of frons. Eyes olive. Thorax light to mid green. Wings very smoky in old individuals. Pterostigmas long (5 mm), reddish brown. S1 yellowish green. S2 mostly pale, light blue. S3 pale blue below. Rest of abdomen chocolate brown with some light greenish to blue patches on side.
Unmistakable with its blue head and black dot at base of frons. Its green thorax and bright blue and black abdomen are characteristic, as it hawks conspicuously over pools and dams.
Habitat and Ecology
Mostly pools and dams with an abundance of waterweed, lilies and fringing reeds.
Life History and Behavior
Hawks rapidly up and down about 1-2 m above water surface, especially along reedy fringes. Along the east coast, it also flies at dusk, even into the night, sometimes very close to the ground.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anax imperator
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2010Least Concern (LC)
- 2006Least Concern (LC)
The emperor dragonfly or blue emperor (Anax imperator) is a large species of hawker dragonfly of the family Aeshnidae, averaging 78 millimetres (3.1 in) in length. 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.
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.
- Clausnitzer, V. (2006). "Anax imperator". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
- "Emperor". British Dragonfly Society. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Emperor dragonfly videos, photos and facts — Anax imperator". ARKive. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!