Britain’s bulkiest Dragonfly.

Male: Sky blue abdomen with a central dark line.

Female: Green abdomen with a central dark line. Occasionally appears with a blue abdomen.



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Where to See

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Species GroupDragonflies
Scientific NameAnax imperator
Status & Distribution

Found across Wales, most of England; its distribution has greatly increased since the 1990s. The species has been recorded in Scotland since 2003 and can be found on the southern and eastern coasts of southern Scotland.


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.

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

Same body-shape as Hawkers- long and streamlined.

Emperors have the largest larvae: 45-56mm

Eyes are large and rounded.

Similar Species

May be confused with other Hawkers.

Can be differentiated by its:

  • Large size
  • Drooping abdomen (in flight)
  • Bright blue and green colouration.