Orange Emperor     Anax speratus     Oranjekeiser

 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male

Anax speratus Orange Emperor

Anax speratus Orange Emperor Tandem

Family Aeshnidae Leach, 1815
Short description:

Very large, uniformly orange-red in colour. Unmistakable to identify in flight and when resting.

Also known as the Eastern Orange Emperor

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107 526 Orange Emperor Female Port Elizabeth EC RSA Jan 2018 1Images

100 1836 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 2Male

107 527 Orange Emperor Female Port Elizabeth EC RSA Jan 2018 2Young Male

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Short description:

Very large, uniformly orange-red in colour. Unmistakable to identify in flight and when resting.

Key identification features:

Male: 107 526 Orange Emperor Female Port Elizabeth EC RSA Jan 2018 1

  • Very large uniformly orange-red. 100 1836 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 2
  • Face yellow with no markings on dorsal surface of frons  100 1841 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male MP RSA Nov 2016r 17   100 1842 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 17
  • Thorax orange with darker markings along the carina. Young males may have a bright green thorax  100 1837 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 7   100 1838 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 8 Legs have reddish femora contrasting with the black tibiae
  • Wings clear becoming smokey with age. Pterostigmas orange 100 2300 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 30
  • Abdomen and appendages all orange. Appendages broad curving inwards at the tips. 100 1844 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 23  100 2299 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 29 
  • Young individuals have white spots at the base of each wing.100 1843 Anax speratus Orange Emperor Male Close up MP RSA Sep 2018r 20

Female: 107 526 Orange Emperor Female Port Elizabeth EC RSA Jan 2018 1

  • Head yellow
  • Eyes green when young becoming reddish brown with age
  • Females and immature males have an apple green thorax. Dorsal thorax have a white lateral stripe at hind base. White lateral stripe between wings
  • Abdominal segments 1 light whitish green. S 2 green with the hind dorsal section brown in the form of a triangle along the center ..
  • Young individuals have white spots at the base of each wing.
  • Appendages long and narrow
Compared with other species:
  • Unmistakable due to the orange-red colour
Distribution and habitat:

Anax speratus Orange Emperor Distribution Map May 2020Found in most areas of South Africa.
Common in the higher rainfall northern, eastern and southern parts of South Africa. 
Bush- or reed-lined perennial streams and small rivers with moderate current, occasionally pools.
May hunt over open area 

Behaviour:
  • Hawks at speed along streams and small rivers in fynbos, grassland, bushy or forested areas, close to the water surface.Sometimes visits pools.
  • Often seen ovipositing in vegetation just below surface at stream's edge.
Further reading and other interesting information:

Websites:
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664170
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online
The IUCN Red list of threatened Species

 
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