Blue Emperor Anax imperator Bloukeiser
Blue Emperor, Anax imperator is large to very large sized, has a bright blue abdomen with brown markings on the upper side and a green thorax.
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Key identification features:
- Face light to greenish blue. Nose with transverse dark edge above, black basal spot. Top of head greenish blue.
- Eyes bright blue above, greenish blue below.
- Thorax green with two turquoise green patches between wings.
- Wings clear, becoming smoky with age, veins brown. Pterostigmas long (4.8–5.0 mm), reddish brown.
- Abdomen bright blue with variable wide black line running along top.
- Face yellow and green face, with black dot on dorsal surface of frons.
- Eyes are olive green.
- Thorax light to mid green
- Wings are very smoky in old individuals. Pterostigmas are long (5 mm) and reddish brown.
- Abdomen s 1 is yellowish green. S 2 is mostly pale, light blue. S 3 pale blue below. Rest of abdomen chocolate brown.
Compared with other species:
- Blue Emperor, Anax imperator is unmistakable colour markings.
- Blue Emperor A. imperator Male primarily blue.
- Black Emperor A. tristis is has black abdomen with Greenish thorax.
- Orange Emperor A. speratus is primarily orange.
- Vagrant Emperor A. ephippiger is yellowish mustard colour
Distribution and habitat:
Widespread and common throughout South Africa.
Mostly standing and probably often temporary waters, but also rivers and possibly large lakes, in open landscapes
Often with emergent and aquatic vegetation.
From 0 to 2800 m above sea level, but mostly below 1900.
- Blue Emperor, Anax imperator hawks rapidly up and down above the water surface.
Further reading and information:
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664140
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Least Concern
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa