Black Emperor. Swartkeiser
Anax tristis Hagen, 1867
Also known as Magnificent Emperor
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Key identification features:
- Face all green with blackish basal triangle on top of frons.
- Eyes green.
- Thorax green and brown.
- Wings slightly smoky particularly in central areas, dark brown spot beside membranule. Pterostigmas long (5 mm), reddish brown.
- Abdomen and appendages mostly black. Segment 1 with cream dorsal patch, segment 2 with wide cream ring running all the way around. Segments 4 to 9 with small cream spots above. Segment 10 black.
- Similar to male but stouter, shorter, appendages shorter and leaf-like, wings generally fairly smoky
Compared with other species:
- Unmistakable due to size and markings.
- The largest Emperor in South Africa.
Distribution and habitat:
- Found in the warm northern and eastern areas of South Africa.
- Frequents pools, small dams and waterholes in open or savanna areas. Such pools and swamps may be without water weed or fringing vegetation.
- Flies low at great speed or unhurried, drifting low and slowly across and around pools. Sometimes cruises at tree top level.