Dragonflies emerging at Tyntesfield

An adult emperor dragonfly

If you head down to the walled garden over late May and early June, you may be lucky enough to see a new dragonfly 'emerging'.

Emperor dragonflies (Anax Imperator) are Britain’s largest dragonfly species, with a wingspan of up to 10cm. Up to 100 of these stunning creatures will appear from the ponds, during a process known as 'emerging'. 

The emerging of the dragonflies is dependent on the weather and temperature, and you may be lucky enough to see the process happen during the day. If the dragonflies emerge at night, you'll see the new adults flitting around the walled garden, and you can try to spot the ghostly skin cases they have left behind on the greenery of the pond. 

An emperor dragonfly larvae
An emperor dragonfly larvae
An emperor dragonfly larvae

The dragonflies remain on the wing for most of their lives, even catching and eating prey in mid air. You can recognise them by their beautiful electric blue and green colours, with females being predominantly green. 

Their lifecycle takes place over around three years, the majority of this spent underwater as larvae. During this time they will outgrow and moult their skin several times, completing their final moult above the water on nearby vegetation. 

The new adults are known for their agressive nature, but will only live for around ten days, remaining near the pond to mate. 

An Emperor Dragonfly in the middle of its hatching cycle
Emperor Dragonfly clings to its larval case midway through its hatching cycle
An Emperor Dragonfly in the middle of its hatching cycle