Emperor Dragonfly - Anax imperator


This is one of Europe's largest dragonflies. The male is easy to identify with its apple green thorax and bright blue abdomen and blue eyes. The female is mostly green and also has the apple green thorax.

Identification difficulty

Large ponds, lakes, canals and slow moving rivers are the preferred habitat of the Emperor Dragonfly, particular those with abundant submerged and floating vegetation.

When to see it

June to August.

Life History

The male circumnavigates its territory and chases off any other dragonfly that comes near. Each pair of wings moves in a different motion, giving the impression of a helicopter.

UK Status

Widespread but not common in England south of the Humber and Wales, little recorded elsewhere in Britain.

VC55 Status

There has been a huge upsurge in records of this distinctive dragonfly in our area since 1990 and it is now distributed widely throughout Leicestershire & Rutland.

Further Information

With just a handful of records prior to 1980 and similarly few in the succeeding decade, this is another species that can be considered a recent colonist to VC 55. There has been a huge upsurge in records of this distinctive dragonfly since 1990 and it is now distributed widely through VC 55 in suitable habitat.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor
Species group:
Dragonflies and Damselflies
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
26/09/2001 (Derek Lott)
Last record:
10/07/2023 (larrad, andy)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

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