Vagrant Emperor. Blourugkeiser
Anax ephippiger (Burmeister, 1839)
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Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger, Genus Anax Family Aeshnidae, is large to very large sized, stout, sand-coloured to greenish-brown with very large blue abdominal saddle (male). Slightly- to very smoky pointed wings.
Key identification features:
- Face all greenish yellow with dark brown band along tip of nose. Labrum yellow. Top of head black with greenish central mark.
- Eyes very large, brownish olive above and in front, yellow behind and below.
- Thorax all dull brown above, becoming greenish then yellowish below.
- Wings very pointed, become dark smoky with age, large smoky spot present in centers, veins brown. Pterostigmas long (5 mm), light brown.
- Abdomen indistinctly marked dark greenish brown and brownish olive, large bright blue saddle covering most of upper surface of segment 2. Female similar, much more reddish
- Face all light greenish yellow with dark brown band along tip of nose. Labrum yellow. Top of head black with greenish central mark.
- Darker reddish brown dorsal thorax with green side becoming yellow at lower part of thorax
- Wings very pointed, become dark smoky with age, large smoky spot present in centers, veins brown . Pterostigmas long (5 mm), light brown.
- Abdomen blue saddle on segment 2 is far less obvious appearing as a light green to violet shade divided by brown band that continues through to s 10. Sides yellow. S8-10 has distinctive yellow dots.
- Appendages are broad (paddle shaped) and distinctively pointed. Very thin of viewed laterally
Compared with other species:
- Unmistakable due to size and markings. Unlike other South African Aeshnids, tandem pairs are common.
- Smallest of the Emperor group.
Distribution and habitat:
- Found in the eastern higher rainfall areas of South Africa. Recently recorded in the Western Cape and Northern Cape Provinces of South Africa. Due to the habit of being in flight most of the time distribution data, created by photographic evidence, is limited
- A wide-ranging migrant. It mates and breeds in shallow, flooded, grassy pools, standing and mostly temporary waters in open landscapes often fringing larger pools. Often with emergent vegetation. From 0 to 2100 m above sea level, but mostly at lower elevations, although possibly up to 2900
- Hawks rapidly and very close to water surface.