The South-East Woodland Project - Emperor Dragonfly.jpg

Emperor Dragonfly

The Emperor Dragonfly is the largest dragonfly in Great Britain. The colouration of a male is an encapsulating blue colour with black stripe along its abdominal. This is contrary to the female Emperor Dragonfly which has a green abdominal with a black central line. 

Bulky bodies distinguish Emperor Dragonflies from the vast majority of its own family with itself and many of its family showcasing its wings that are always out spread. 

Suitable habitats are large vegetated ponds, lakes and rivers with lots of water. Dragonflies need water to survive so a waterway with lots of greenery will support dragonflies as well as the bugs and other insects they eat for nutrients. 

Female Emperor Dragonflies are fertile in June - late August and lay their eggs in a very recognizable way. Bending their lower abdominal into water or pondweed, they lay their eggs below the surface of the water where they develop from egg into nymphs. This can take up to four years but once the nymph is fully grown, and the weather conditions are optimal, they go through a metamorphosis stage where they turn into a dragonfly. 

For the nymph to turn into a dragonfly, it first crawls up the stem of a plant and sheds its skin. The skin of the nymph left behind is called an exuvia and you can often find these with binoculars to place on your hand for close up inspection. 

Fact - Emperors have the largest larvae of all dragonflies that measure 45 - 53 cm in length 

The Emperor dragonfly numbers have been in an upward trajectory for centuries. Donating to our cause ensures their continual survival by creating and conserving habitats where dragonflies can thrive.