Anax ephippiger – Vagrant Emperor

Anax ephippiger (Vagrant Emperor, previously in Hemianax) is the smallest of the European emperors. The species usually reproduces in southern Europe on a small scale. The majority of the European sightings concern migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Vagrant Emperors may migrate north along the coasts of Western Europe to the British islands even in winter. The first ever dragonfly found on Iceland was a Vagrant Emperor.

In June 2019, The Netherlands witnessed its largest influx of Vagrant Emperors ever. For the first time in history successful reproduction took place in The Netherlands and Belgium. Over 1000 exuviae and many fresh imagos were found on several locations in August and September.


Watch the full process of emerging of a male Vagrant Emperor in the slide show below. The nymph was caught in De Millingerwaard in The Netherlands on the 18th of August 2019. Emerging started just before midnight on the 2nd of September 2019 and took several hours to complete. The imago was released in the morning.