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Family Aeshnidae     (Leach, 1815)

Distribution Worldwide
  • More than 30 species .
  • 10 species in Africa  with about 5 seen in southern Africa. Distributed widely all over the continent.
General identification features
  • Large (hindwing 43-65 mm) and powerful, Anax. tristis is among the world’s biggest dragonflies.
  • Males of all species are conspicuously coloured, with unmarked thorax (often deep green) and often bright blue, red or black (boldly spotted) abdomen.
Habitat and behaviour
  • Patrol endlessly over sunny water
  • May be seen hunting termites at dusk
  • Often found lurking in vegetation far away from water during the dry season
  • Breeds in open standing waters rich in vegetation (ponds and marches).
  • Several species (A, ephippiger, Vagrant Emperor and A,tristis, Black Emperor) prefers seasonal pools ad is thus migratory
  • Some species prefers running water with males patrolling low over the water. Some species prefer open streams  and rivers with some preferring forested waters.
  • Only images of males are shown
  • To view images of females follow the menu links to the main description page
  • Click on all images to enlarge er open description page
A selection of images: