A medium sized dragonfly that has a synchronised emergence towards the end of May.

Male: blue and black body and blue eyes.

Female: ochre with black markings down the middle of the abdomen.


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Species GroupDragonflies
Scientific NameLibellula fulva
Status & Distribution

Listed as Near Threatened in the British Odonata Red List 2008.
Populations are localised in East Anglia, the East Midlands and parts of southern England from Kent to Devon. The species has expanded its range significantly since 2004.


A species of lowland river floodplains that usually inhabits slow-flowing, meandering rivers and large dykes. Occasionally occurs in mature gravel pits and nearby ponds also support populations. Inhabited sites characteristically have good water quality, which supports submerged and floating plants as well as prolific stands of emergent vegetation. Ovipositing females require areas of slow flowing open water, and the adults require some shrub or tree shelter.


Flight PeriodScarce Chaser
Adult Identification
  • Length: 40-49mm
  • Dark wing bases and often black wing tips.
  • Male: blue eyes. Blue body with black tip to the abdomen.
  • Female: brown eyes. Ochre colouration with black markings down the middle of the abdomen.


Larval Information

Skimmers and Chasers have a squat, spider-like body-shape, a square back to the head and small eyes.


Eyes point out to the side of the head.

Labial palps have weak serrations.

Dorsal spines long and curved.

  • Inappropriate river management.
  • Inappropriate river improvement schemes.
  • Pollution.
  • Eutrophication.
  • Over-shading.
  • Changing water levels.
  • Excessive boat traffic.

General management principles include maintaining inhabited sites and the adjacent landscape, controlling water quality, controlling boating activity, and undertaking monitoring and research. There are also best practice guidelines for managing inhabited sites, particularly regarding dredging, management of aquatic vegetation, and scrub control.

Management Fact File/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/libellula-fulva.pdf
Similar Species

The male could be confused with Black-tailed Skimmer or Keeled Skimmer. The blue eyes help to distinguish it.