Dragonflies and damselflies

Emperor dragonfly at blashford close

Emperor dragonfly

In the New Forest, emperor dragonflies can be seen wherever there is still water. The emperor is common and widespread in the southern part of England and south Wales. They are never seen in high numbers but patrol across expanses of water as singletons.

Emperors need still water to breed in and prefer a decent expanse of water such as lakes and large ponds. In the New Forest it is easier to find emperors at the larger ponds such as Hatchet Pond near Beaulieu or Eyeworth Pond near Fritham, but they can sometimes be seen at smaller temporary ponds or ditches. They are seen singly because the males are very territorial and will chase off a rival male that strays too close. These are dragonflies of mid-summer and it is best to look for them at any time from June through to mid- September.

ID tip - Emperors are large dragonflies with a sky blue abdomen (tail) and a lime green thorax (body) and they are the only dragonfly to have this colour combination. A large blue-looking dragonfly that spends much of its time flying out over the water of a large pond or lake is bound to be this species.

Photo credit: Colin Perry

  1. Dragonflies and damselflies
  2. Azure damselflies
  3. Beautiful demoiselle
  4. Blue-tailed damselfly
  5. Broad-bodied chasers
  6. Common darter
  7. Emperor dragonfly (you are here)
  8. Golden-ringed dragonfly
  9. Keeled skimmer
  10. Large red damselfly
  11. Small red damselfly
  12. Southern damselfly
  13. Southern hawker


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