Larval skins of Vagrant emperor (Anax epipphiger)

A lot has been published in recent weeks about the Vagrant emperor (Anax epipphiger). Reproduction of the species is new to the Netherlands. Today I photographed the Anax larval skins, which I collected in the Millingerwaard on 27-8. All this together with the Blue emperor (Anax imperator) shows the difference in the prementum.

A lot of fresh Vagrant emperor (Anax ephippiger)

Emerging Vagrant emperor (Anax ephippiger) in the NL

The Vagrant emperor (Anax ephippiger) is a relative newcomer and was first seen in the Netherlands in 1995. In recent years they reproduce more often in southern Europe in summer and since then they have appeared in the Netherlands. Anax ephippiger were seen in almost all of the Netherlands in June 2019. This year is special because there are a lot of them, but also because they arrived early in the summer. The dragonflies are probably from the surroundings of Egypt and it was the first generation from Southern Europe that we never actually see here. Ovipositing have been observed in many places in our country. Anax ephippiger develop very quickly. In their normal range, the dry parts of Africa and southwest Asia, they reproduce in temporary ponds.

From the beginning of August, larval skins and fresh images have been seen in the provinces of Noord-Brabant, Gelderland, Utrecht, Zuid-Holland and Limburg. Many dragonfly lovers have started looking for larval skins. It is striking that in the morning only fresh disabled images are found (mostly wings). It has been found that Anax ephippiger are already flying away in the evening. The “good” ones fly away early in the evening or at night. It is still a mystery to which all these images fly, also because they are not seen during the day.

Who knows what to expect next year?

Text and photo’s: RenĂ© Manger