102 538 jong wyfie vagrant kosii 119 535 Vagrant emperor male I5A8166 119 532A Vagrant emperor female I5A8024

 Vagrant Emperor.     Blourugkeiser

(Burmeister, 1839)

Link to our photo gallery
Images in nature of the Vagrant Emperor.
Close-up for identification assistance.
Teneral female

Short description:

Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger, Genus Anax Family Aeshnidae,is large to very large, stout, sand-coloured to greenish-brown with very large blue abdominal saddle (male). Slightly- to very smoky pointed wings.

Key identification features:

The abdomen is brown with a blue saddle on the upper side of segment 2. A black dorsal line extends down the abdomen and gets broader on segments 8-10, resulting in the appearance of paired brown spots. The eyes and thorax are brown with a yellow green lower half and 2 distinctive black bars are present on the frons. The appendages are broad and distinctively pointed.
Females are darker in colour and the blue saddle on segment 2 is far less obvious appearing as a violet shade. The appendages are broad and distinctively pointed.

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 Westen 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.

Further reading:
Distribution Map

The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ,,, p. 92
A Field guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 112
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 116
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Namibia ... p. 157

Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Cornish Nature
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species     (Least Concern)
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664120
African Dragonflies& Damselflies Online

Other Information
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Morphology of a Dragonfly Sketch 1Sketch 2 and Damselfly
Map of South Africa


Right Click

Copyrighted material - contact us if you want to buy a photo