The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
The species was first recorded in Britain in June 1996; the first confirmed breeding record was in south-east Cornwall in 1998. It has expanded its range with scattered records along the southern counties of England, but it is still a very scarce species in the UK.
The first confirmed breeding site for Lesser Emperor was at Bake Lakes fishing pools, near Saltash in Caradon. It has continued to appear there, irregularly, up until the present. There is another identified breeding site further west.
Habitat & Ecology
The species breeds in ponds and lakes and has a two year life cycle. Males are territorial, but are often the subservient species if the Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator is present; this will have an impact on its successful colonisation of a site.
The species only has a foothold in the UK and has yet to fully establish itself. Its
subservience to the Emperor Dragonfly in suitable habitat may be a limiting factor in its further colonisation of suitable habitats.
The species has yet to develop a sustainable breeding population in Cornwall which makes a conservation policy hard to describe. Monitoring of known sites and careful survey of suitable sites throughout Cornwall should be carried out bearing in mind the two year breeding cycle might mean that sites are ' fallow' on alternate years.
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.