Britain’s bulkiest Dragonfly.

Male: Sky blue abdomen with a central dark line.

Female: Green abdomen with a central dark line (may become blue in warm weather).

Where to See

Latin NameAnax imperator

Mostly associated with large, well vegetated ponds and lakes, but may be found over canals and slow moving rivers.

The female lays her eggs, alone, in floating pondweed.

Status & Distribution

Widespread in southern England and southern Wales; increasing its range northwards.

Recently appeared in Ireland.

Similar Species

May be confused with other Hawkers.

Can be differentiated by its:

  • Large size
  • Drooping abdomen (in flight)
  • Bright colours.


Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 78mm
  • Bright yellow costa (leading wing vein).
  • Apple-green thorax.
  • Green or blue eyes.
  • Central dark line down abdomen.
  • Male: Blue abdomen.
  • Female: Blue or green abdomen.
  • Males very territorial.
  • It rarely settles, even eating its prey in flight.
  • They often fly with the rear of the abdomen bent slightly downwards.
Flight PeriodEmperor Dragonfly