067. Vagrant Emperor – Anax ephippiger – UK European photo
067. Vagrant Emperor – Anax ephippiger – UK – European Dragonfly photo
The Vagrant Emperor ( Anax ephippiger ) as its name implies is a species which wanders far. It is mainly found in the dryer regions of Asia and Africa and only rarely further than the edge of the Mediterranean into central Europe. It is the only species of dragonfly ever to have reached Iceland but amazingly has now crossed the Atlantic and is breeding in and around the Caribbean.. Its preferred breeding habitat is often temporary and shallow warm waters, typical of the area in Morocco shown below where from egg to adult can take less than three months.
KEY I/D FEATURES
This Emperor is smaller than others in the family and has a shorter and thinner body.
Males have a dark brown abdomen with a blue ‘saddle’ on Segment 2. This only partially surrounds the upper part of that segment, as distinct from the more obvious and fuller blue marking on the Lesser Emperor – Anax parthenope. S 3-10 have a black dorsal band and S 8-10 have pairs of dark yellow spots. The eyes are brown when seen from above but with green-yellow colouring underneath when seen from the side. The sides of the thorax are a similar green-yellow colour.
Females (and immature males) have a much less strongly marked blue ‘saddle’. They also have wide and pointed appendages.