Emperor Dragonfly

Key Sites: Brigstock Country Park, the Nene Valley gravel pits. Widely distributed on the major water bodies in the county, favouring the gravel pits and larger water bodies, such as Pitsford, Sywell and the ponds at Brigstock. Also breeds in rivers, such as the River Ise, although breeding on other rivers has not been confirmed.


Spotting: There is no more majestic a sight in Dragonfly watching, than seeing a male Emperor hawking over its territory. The male Emperor will be immediately obvious from its blue and green colouration and size--it is the largest dragonfly in the County (and in the UK).  Females are green all over and are generally only observed as they ovipost into reeds from mid June onwards.


Highly territorial, males are never abundant as each one will occupy a long stretch of water and will defend that area from other males. The Emperor is often the second hawker to appear, emerging in early June, at which time it crosses with the Hairy Dragonfly. However, generally by the time it reaches maturity, the Hairy is approaching the end of its season.


County Status: Stable breeding population under no particular threats. Widely distributed and quite common.

Male taking a rare break from flying, Fermyn Woods Country Park July 2003

Anax imperator

© Jeff Blincow

Old Female, Yardley Chaser, August 2006

Female eating a Four-spotted Chaser, Wilson's Pits, June 2006

Female oviposting, Ditchford, June 2008