Broad-bodied Chaser

Abundance Ranking: 43B


Key Sites: Brigstock Country Park, Salcey Forest. The Broad-bodied Chaser is not common or widely distributed in Northamptonshire and appears to be absent from most of the gravel pits (it has been recorded breeding at Stortons Pits at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton and in the small ponds in the north lakes at Stanwick Lakes). The larva like to bury themselves in the mud at the bottom of ponds, and consequently don't favour the coarse or stony substrates, which probably explains its absence from the gravel pits. Silting of these pits may attract it back.


Spotting: The male Broad-bodied Chaser is easily confused with the Black-tailed Skimmer as both share a pale blue abdomen, however in the Chaser, the abdomen is broad and flat (as the name suggests!) whereas the skimmer is narrow. The Skimmer also lacks the basal black patches to the wings, common to the Chasers.


The Black-tailed skimmer is often seen "skimming" over the water's surface or perched on bare on stony ground, whereas the Broad-bodied Chaser perches on emergent reeds, much the same as the Four-Spotted Chaser. Often thought of as a large wasp, the Broad-bodied Chaser will often be seen with Four-Spotted Chasers, where there will be severe competition for territory.


County Status: Well distributed, not abundant. Threatened by the drying out of shallow ponds during the recent long hot, dry summers.


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Libellula depressa

Male, Yardley Chase, June 2007

Female, Twywell Hills & Dales, May 2004 © Mark Tyrrell