Emperor dragonfly: fifth dragonfly species breeding in the garden

The new pond showing that looks aren't everything - it already has an unusally good crop of animals

The new pond showing that looks aren't everything - it already has an unusually good crop of animals

We surveyed the new pond last week.

The pond looks pretty awful but we found a surprisingly wide variety of animals: most exiting was a full grown Emperor Dragonfly larva (there are excellent pictures of this species on the Biopix website).

It’s actually one of the easier larvae to recognise – and, with practise, do-able in the hand. The shape of the head is the distinctive feature – it’s more rounded in outline compared to other hawkers.

Actually it’s not such a big surprise to find this dragonfly in the garden: emperors are well known for being able to breed in garden ponds, although we’ve no idea at present what proportion of garden ponds they actually occur in.

There’s no way of knowing whether ours was brought in with the plants we added or was the result of natural colonisation.

This emperor is the fifth species we’ve found breeding in the ponds in the garden: the others are Common Darter, Brown Hawker, Broad-bodied Chaser and Large Red Damselfly.

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