Identifying dragonflies

Emperor dragonflies (Anax imperator) are the largest of Britain’s Odonata. They are fast, active hunters that rarely come to rest which makes them exceptionally difficult to photograph.

We believe that there is a least one emperor dragonfly hunting in the park; this would be a new species for our lists and we are eager to identify it. So far, though, nobody has been able to get a photograph of identifiable clarity. The picture above is from Google Creative Commons.

Below are some of our attempts. The first two, over the Dog Pond, are by Ian Bushell, and the second two, against Tuesday’s blue sky, are by local PCSO Chahida Boutarfas.

Have any of our park users had better luck? If you do see this beautiful creature at rest, please sneak up on it and take its picture. Send the results to us by email; shared or sent via Messenger, your picture would be scaled down and we will need all your pixels to make an identification.

Below is a picture of the female, again from Google Creative Commons. Her head and thorax are the same colour as the male’s but, instead of his bright blue abdomen, she has a green and brown abdomen. We think the one we have seen is a male; a female would be an indication that emperor dragonflies might be breeding in the park.

Header Photograph: Emperor dragonfly by Ken Billington [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Footer photograph: Female emperor dragonfly by Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0]

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