Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger, Blourugkeiser
Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger, Blourugkeiser 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.
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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 centres, 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 centres, 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
- 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.
Compared with other species:
- Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger is unmistakable due to size and markings. Unlike other South African Aeshnids, tandem pairs are common.
- Smallest of the Emperor group.
- Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger is found in the eastern higher rainfall areas of South Africa. Recently recorded in the WCP and NCP of South Africa.
Due to the habit of being in flight most of the time distribution data, created by photographic evidence, is limited.
- Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Côte d'Ivoire; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Egypt; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinee-Bissau; Kenya; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; São Tomé & Príncipe; Senegal; Socotra (Yemen); Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Western Sahara; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Further reading for Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Least Concern)
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664120
African Dragonflies& Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa