AppearanceThey are easily identified by their distinctive black and yellow stripes, which no other dragonfly in the United Kingdom has. A very large species, males average 74 mm and the larger females 84 mm. Wingspan is up to 101 mm.
BehaviorThey are often seen flying leisurely over mountain streams or a river; they also occasionally show up at a pond. They are also typically seen flying over heath land. Their bright yellow and black stripes make them easy to identify, even from a fair distance away. They feed mainly on insects ranging from small prey such as midges to flies, butterflies and even bumblebees. This strikingly-coloured insect is incredibly aerobatic and they sometimes fly very high up into the sky.
ReproductionThe female lays the eggs in shallow water. The hairy larvae live at the bottom of the water and are well camouflaged amongst the silt. They emerge after about 2–5 years, and usually under the cover of darkness.
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