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Libélula Anax imperator

Diputación de Málaga

Libélula Anax imperator


Length: From 66 to 84 mm.
Hindwing spam: From 45 to 52 mm.
Male: 1. The upper part of the eyes is blue. 2. Thorax is completely green, although the upper part of it can be brownish. 3. There are two blue markings on the upper part of the thorax, above the wings base. 4. Narrow section on S3. 5. Abdomen is more blue than black. 6. Long anal appendages.
Female: It is with similar patterns to the male but its colour is duller and it is not as narrow as the male on S3 (7). The spots in front of the wings base are green not blue (8).



They mate in all kinds of lentic ecosystems, whether they are perennial or temporary bodies of water, including pools in rivers and streams, small reservoirs, artificial ponds, deserted quarries, and reservoirs that supply farms and golf courses with water. They always live in places with emergent plants and the parts of floating plants. Occasionally, some adults can be seen in terrestrial habitats far away from water.


Way of life

Males fly powerfully, and spend hours patrolling round their territory. They protect it from other males and from other dragonfly species, which they can also feed on. Females are shy and can only be seen when it comes to water to reproduce. They lay eggs on emergent vegetation or on what is left of floating plants. They do it alone, unlikely to some other Anax species, which do it together with the male in tandem. They hardly ever rest during the day, but when they do, they take up a vertical position.


When to see this species

It lives in Málaga throughout the year, except in December, but it is more copious from June to September.


Where to see this species

It is one of the most common dragonflies and widespread in the province, so it can be found wherever the environmental conditions match its needs. It is likely to be seen on any stage of the Great Málaga Path, although it is rarer in the north, from stage 13 to 19.
It is common on stages that are close to the shore and place at river and stream mouths which have water almost throughout the year (from 1 to 5 and 30).


Similar species

Above all Anax parthenope.


Conservation status

This species is not endangered nor is it specially protected by the current environmental laws.