Sussex Dragonfly Group

Lesser Emperor
Anax parthenope (Selys, 1839)
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Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

Lesser Emperor
Anax parthenope

Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae

This Emperor species is gradually becoming established at one or two sites in Sussex though its status remains precarious.

Anax parthenope
1 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
2 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
3 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
4 / 4
ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Rare but currently annual migrant. First recorded 1996, Gloucestershire; has bred in Cornwall ( BDS website).

Status in Sussex
The species has been recorded in eight years between the Millennium and 2020, most consistently from West Rise Marsh, Eastbourne and Rye Harbour though with records also from Buchan CP, East Chiltington, Pett Level and Warnham LNR. No more than four have been seen at a given site and date. This species has been seen copulating and ovipositing at West Rise Marsh.

Distribution at 1km scale

Anax parthenope distribution (all)
Anax parthenope distribution pre 1980
Anax parthenope distribution 1980 - 1989
Anax parthenope distribution 1990 - 1999
Anax parthenope distribution 2000 - 2009
Anax parthenope distribution 2010 - 2019
Anax parthenope distribution 2010 on

Historical records
The first records were of single insects at Rye Harbour on 23 and 27 July 1997 and 8 August 1998 and in the Cuckmere at West Dean on 18 July 1999.

Flight times
July - August.

Phenology (adult)

Anax parthenope phenology (all)
Anax parthenope phenology pre 1980
Anax parthenope phenology 1980 - 1989
Anax parthenope phenology 1990 - 1999
Anax parthenope phenology 2000 - 2009
Anax parthenope phenology 2010 - 2019
Anax parthenope phenology 2010 on

Habitat
Breeds in ponds and small lakes and can tolerate brackish water ( BDS website).

Similar species
See Southern Hawker for a discussion of possible confusion species. The blue band at the front of the mainly darkish abdomen is distinctive in both male and some females with only the male of the rarer Vagrant Emperor having something similar.

This Emperor species is gradually becoming established at one or two sites in Sussex though its status remains precarious.

Anax parthenope
1 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
2 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
3 / 4
male
Photo: David Sadler
Anax parthenope
4 / 4
ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Rare but currently annual migrant. First recorded 1996, Gloucestershire; has bred in Cornwall ( BDS website).

Status in Sussex
The species has been recorded in eight years between the Millennium and 2020, most consistently from West Rise Marsh, Eastbourne and Rye Harbour though with records also from Buchan CP, East Chiltington, Pett Level and Warnham LNR. No more than four have been seen at a given site and date. This species has been seen copulating and ovipositing at West Rise Marsh.

Distribution at 1km scale

Anax parthenope distribution (all)
Anax parthenope distribution bre 1980
Anax parthenope distribution 1980 - 1989
Anax parthenope distribution 1990 - 1999
Anax parthenope distribution 2000 - 2009
Anax parthenope distribution 2010 - 2019
Anax parthenope distribution 2020 on

Historical records
The first records were of single insects at Rye Harbour on 23 and 27 July 1997 and 8 August 1998 and in the Cuckmere at West Dean on 18 July 1999.

Flight times
July - August.

Phenology (adult)

Anax parthenope phenology (all)
Anax parthenope phenology pre 1980
Anax parthenope phenology 1980 - 1989
Anax parthenope phenology 1990 - 1999
Anax parthenope phenology 2000 - 2009
Anax parthenope phenology 2010 - 2019
Anax parthenope phenology 2020 on

Habitat
Breeds in ponds and small lakes and can tolerate brackish water ( BDS website).

Similar species
See Southern Hawker for a discussion of possible confusion species. The blue band at the front of the mainly darkish abdomen is distinctive in both male and some females with only the male of the rarer Vagrant Emperor having something similar.