Fun Emperor Dragonfly Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 07, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Emperor Dragonfly Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

The emperor dragonfly, with the scientific name Anax imperator, is a kind of dragonfly found in Asia, Europe, and Africa. This species is known for its apple green thorax, its green or bright blue abdomen, and its large wings. Females are not as colorful as males, but both have a black stripe on their abdomen. They are most abundantly noted to be seen flying in the wild between June and August.

These dragonflies live near water bodies like large ponds and rivers. Females lay their eggs on the leaves of aquatic vegetation. Larvae hatch out three weeks later and continue in this stage for a year or two. Larvae are quite large in size and they prey on small aquatic animals. Emperor dragonflies are known to feed on butterflies and smaller dragonflies of other species. They can catch their prey while in flight by holding it with their legs and the green or blue abdomen of this species seems to droop down when they are flying. The emperor dragonfly is the largest dragonfly species in the United Kingdom, with the largest wingspan. Fortunately, this dragonfly has a stable population and is quite common in its range.

Listed below are some more fun facts about the emperor dragonfly, so keep reading to learn more! You can also check out some facts about the dragonfly and the hairy dragonfly here on Kidadl.

Emperor Dragonfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an emperor dragonfly?

The emperor dragonfly is also known as the blue emperor. It is a kind of hawker dragonfly with an apple green thorax and a bright blue or green abdomen.

What class of animal does an emperor dragonfly belong to?

The emperor dragonfly belongs to the class Insecta, which also has other members like the Jerusalem cricket. They are part of the genus Anax.

How many emperor dragonflies are there in the world?

The exact population of this species has not been estimated. However, their distribution range is quite large and they are described as being common. They even have large subpopulations.

Where does an emperor dragonfly live?

The emperor dragonfly distribution includes Asia, Europe, and Africa. They are found in large numbers within their natural range, but due to climate change, they have been able to colonize northern parts of their range as well.

What is an emperor dragonfly's habitat?

The habitat of these dragonflies consists of freshwater or brackish water. Their most common habitat regions include large ponds, rivers, or canals with a significant amount of aquatic vegetation.

Who do emperor dragonflies live with?

Dragonflies are known to stay close to each other, but they usually don't share the same territory. A similar social structure can be assumed for emperor dragonflies. Male emperor dragonflies are very territorial in nature and go to great lengths to defend their territory, especially during the breeding season.

How long does an emperor dragonfly live?

An adult emperor dragonfly can live for eight and a half weeks.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding between male and female emperor dragonflies occurs nine days after they have matured. Following successful fertilization, the female dragonfly deposits eggs on the leaves of pondweeds. This is one of the few dragonfly species in which the female lays her eggs alone. After three weeks, the eggs hatch, and the larvae emerge. The larvae measure between 1.7-2.2 in (4.3-5.5 cm). The larval stage continues for one or two years before they molt into adults.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the emperor dragonfly has been marked as Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). These insects show a stable population in the wild, however, water pollution and habitat loss can impact their distribution.

Emperor Dragonfly Fun Facts

What do emperor dragonflies look like?

The emperor dragonfly or the blue emperor dragonfly) is a spectacular species of dragonfly, known for its color. Male emperor dragonflies have a bright blue abdomen. They have an apple-green thorax with a black stripe that runs down their abdomen. Being a sexually dimorphic species, females look slightly different. Their bodies are much greener in comparison to those of male emperor dragonflies, but the black stripe is present on their abdomen as well. Females have an apple-green thorax, as well. Both sexes have green or blue eyes and black or yellow legs.

An emperor dragonfly can catch its prey while in flight.

How cute are they?

More than cute, these dragonflies are very vibrant and colorful, making them quite attractive.

How do they communicate?

The exact methods of communication used by the emperor dragonfly are not known. However, in general, dragonflies are known to communicate using visual cues. New research shows that dragonflies may be able to communicate with each other using colors, as well.

How big is an emperor dragonfly?

The length of an adult emperor dragonfly is nearly 3.2 in (8.1 cm). Their wingspan is 4.2 in (10.6 cm) long. This species is considered to be one of the largest dragonflies. The length of their wings is much longer than those of the cabbage white butterfly, which has a wingspan between 1.7-2.5 in (4.3-6.35 cm).

How fast can emperor dragonflies move?

This dragonfly species is considered to be quite fast, as their flight speed reaches up to 30 mph (48.2 kph). They have a wide range of flying capabilities and can fly backward or upside-down! Among these insects, flying usually takes place between the months of June and August.

How much does an emperor dragonfly weigh?

Though the exact weight of the emperor dragonfly is not known, in general dragonflies weigh between 0.02-0.03 oz (566.9-850.4 mg). The same can be inferred about this species. Dragonflies weigh a little more than monarch butterflies, as these insects usually do not weigh more than 0.026 oz (737 mg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female dragonflies of this species are simply known as male emperor dragonflies and female emperor dragonflies, respectively.

What would you call a baby emperor dragonfly?

A baby emperor dragonfly is known as a nymph.

What do they eat?

Are you looking for some emperor dragonfly diet facts? Their diet is actually quite interesting as these insects are carnivorous in nature and they usually feed on smaller invertebrates. Their common food materials include other insects like butterflies and smaller dragonflies! Emperor dragonflies can capture their prey while in flight. They might also eat tadpoles and larvae eat smaller animals found in ponds.

Are they harmful?

In general, the emperor dragonfly does not cause any harm to humans. However, this insect should be handled with care, otherwise, they may resort to biting.

Would they make a good pet?

No, there aren't any instances of an emperor dragonfly being a pet insect.

Did you know...

The eyes of dragonflies consist of thousands of small units known as ommatidia. Each ommatidium has a lens system and photoreceptor cells, which collect visual information. In the emperor dragonfly, 60,000 such units are present in each eye.

Emperor dragonfly eggs

The female emperor dragonfly lays hundreds of eggs on floating vegetation in her natural habitat. These dragonflies lay endophytic eggs, which are elongated in shape. Female dragonflies have an ovipositor, with which they inject the eggs into the right surface.

What is the biggest dragonfly in the UK?

The emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) is the biggest dragonfly in the UK, with an adult measuring up to 3.2 in (8.1 cm) in length. Even their wings are the largest in size, compared to other species. The lesser emperor dragonfly is also quite big measuring up to 2.7 in (6.8 cm), but evidently, it is not as big as the emperor dragonfly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sand lizard facts and frilled lizard fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Dragonfly coloring pages.

Emperor Dragonfly Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small invertebrates and tadpoles

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Hundreds of eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

near freshwater or brackish water

Where Do They Live?

asia, europe, africa

How Long Were They?

3.2 in (8.1 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Anax imperator

What Do They Look Like?

Bright blue or green with an apple green thorax and green or blue eyes

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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