Lesser Emperor

Anax parthenope

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Length: 71mm

Flight period: July to September (occasionally late May)

This relative of the much more common Emperor Dragonfly is smaller and duller in colour but the bright blue "saddle" at S2 is very noticeable. The rest of the abdomen is brownish, as is the thorax. The eyes are green.


Breeds in ponds and small lakes and can tolerate brackish water.

Status & Distribution

Rare but currently annual migrant. First recorded 1996, Gloucestershire; has bred in Cornwall.

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Similar species

Could be confused with Emperor or other Hawkers, but the blue saddle and otherwise dark appearance help to distinguish it.