102 572 in vlug 4 119 535 Vagrant emperor male I5A8166 119 532A Vagrant emperor female I5A8024

 Vagrant Emperor.     Blourugkeiser

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Short description:

Vagrant Emperor, Anax ephippiger, Genus Anax Family Aeshnidae, 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.

Key identification features:

Males: 102 572 in vlug 4

  • 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 centers, 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

Females: 119 532A Vagrant emperor female I5A8024

  • Face all light greenish yellow with dark brown band along tip of nose.  Labrum yellow. Top of head black with greenish central mark. 100 1825 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 8   100 1824 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 5
  • Darker reddish brown dorsal thorax with green side becoming yellow at lower part of thorax  100 1823 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 3
  • Wings very pointed, become dark smoky with age, large smoky spot present in centers, veins brown 100 1830 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 15 . Pterostigmas long (5 mm), light brown. 100 1831 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 19
  • 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. 100 1828 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 13  Sides yellow. S8-10 has distinctive yellow dots. 100 1827 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 11
  • Appendages are broad (paddle shaped) and distinctively pointed. 100 1827 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 11  Very thin of viewed laterally 100 1829 Anax ephippiger Vagrant Emperor Female Close up Ndumo KZN RSA Mch 2019r 14
Compared with other species:
  • Unmistakable due to size and markings. Unlike other South African Aeshnids, tandem pairs are common.
  • Smallest of the Emperor group.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Found in the eastern higher rainfall areas of South Africa. Recently recorded in the Western Cape and Northern Cape Provinces of South Africa. Due to the habit of being in flight most of the time distribution data, created by photographic evidence, is limited 
  • 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
Behaviour:
  • Hawks rapidly and very close to water surface.
Further reading:
 http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=664120 Books
The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa ,,, p. 92
A Field guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 112
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa ... p. 116
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Namibia ... p. 157

Websites
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
Cornish Nature
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species     (Least Concern)
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 664120
African Dragonflies& Damselflies Online

Other Information
Size Comparison Diagram: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Morphology of a Dragonfly , Damselfly
Map of South Africa
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