I love to watch these magnificent dragonflies down by the river in the summer. They have a distinctive flat, broad body and four dark wing patches. The males have blue abdomens where the females are a golden-yellow, darkening with age. They both have distinctive yellow spots along the sides of the abdomen. Body length up to 45mm. Forewing up to 40mm.
The eggs hatch about 2-3 weeks later, and the larvae live at the bottom mainly in silt for up to 1-3 years before they emerge as adults.
It flies May to August, and they are often seen perched on reeds and bushes near water. Found in well-vegetated ponds, streams, ditches, small lakes and rivers. Common and widespread in England and Wales.
Photographs taken July 2011 and 2012, local river, Staffordshire, and June 2010, country park pond, Staffordshire.