066. Lesser Emperor – Anax parthenope – UK – European Dragonfly photo
The Lesser Emperor ( Anax parthenope ) is another species which has made a northwards expansion in its range and is now quite regularly seen in the UK with breeding first being recorded in 1999. It is widespread, being found south into the Sahara and as far east as China and Japan. Around the Mediterranean countries it is very common but scarcer in Iberia. In flight it can be distinguished from the Blue Emperor – Anax imperator as its abdomen is held straight and not bent slightly downwards. Although mainly associated with larger waters it has been recorded breeding in smaller freshly constructed ponds.
KEY I/D FEATURES
The most likely confusion species where they overlap is with the Vagrant Emperor – Anax ephippiger. One of the easier differences on the males is the extent to which the blue ‘saddle’ on the top of the first segments wraps around the body. The Lesser Emperor has this extending further down and around the waist as shown in the fourth photograph. The eyes are a beautiful green and the thorax and abdomen are brown. In more mature specimens the wings have a light brown tinting.