Manx National Heritage hails Isle of Man visits by exotic Vagrant Emperor dragonfly species

By Culture24 Reporter | 04 January 2012
  • Archived article
A close-up photo of a small dragonfly with a long blue tail on a tree
Southerly winds are thought to have drawn the Vagrant Emperor butterfly to the Isle of Man
© Pete Hadfield
Natural history experts on the Isle of Man are pinning the first appearance of an exotic Vagrant Emperor dragonfly on windy weather.

The travelling species, which is thought to have come from sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East, was spotted in a garden last November by a resident who wasted little time in sending a snap to Manx National Heritage.

A close-up photo of a small dragonfly with a long blue tail on a tree
The species was spotted in early November 2011
© Pete Hadfield
"Even with a following wind, it is amazing to think of this small creature making it so far north," says Curator of Natural History Kate Hawkins.

"This is a fascinating occurrence of a dragonfly which has been seen with increasing frequency in the UK and is has clearly been extending its range."

Most Manx dragonflies disappear by the end of October, so the discovery caps an enlightening year on the Isle.

In August, Emperor Dragonflies – previously only identified at two other sites – were found to have laid eggs at The Ayres gravel pits, where wildlife photographers also welcomed the Lesser Emperor Dragonfly for the first time.

The Emperors are known for having blue or violet segments at the front of their abdomens, but Vagrants are distinguishable by having brown eyes.
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