LOCATION CAPTURED: GROENLAND GAMELODGE, TOLWE, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA.
BLUE EMPEROR – Anax imperator
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lens Sigma 70-300mm DG
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Identification: Very large (wingspan 105mm), with sky blue abdomen and green thorax.
Females closely resemble males. Nymphs very large (body length 55mm), with flatened head, eyes nearly meeting in the midline, labial mask reaching the base of the last pair of legs when folded and lateral spines on 3 abdominal segments. Early- stage nymphs have very broad contrasting bands of cream and black.
Biology: Prefers standing water, where females settle on water lilies and curl the ovipositer underneath to pierce plant tissue and insert eggs. Frequently preys on other large dragonflies such as Pantala flavescens. Nymphs also attack large prey, including fish and tadpoles. Migratory adults occur from October-June.
Habitat: Common near pools, streams and rivers, including brackish waters and organically enriched stagnant bodies of water. Widespread, extending to Europe and Western Asia.
Related species: There are three species in the genus. Anax tristis (wingspan 130mm) is the largest African dragonfly. The massive nymphs of Anax speratus are similar to those of Anax imperator but are more boldly marked, and differ in the pattern of spines (the anal pyramid) at the tip of the abdomen.