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Fact File on the Broad-bodied Chaser


The Broad-bodied Chaser (Latin name: Libellula depressa) tends to be found by ponds and shallow lake margins. They are rarely found in rivers and canals.

Broad-bodied Chasers favour shallow ponds in sunny locations, with a good mosaic of adjacent short grassland, long grasses and scrub nearby for shelter © BDS/ C. Daguet

Broad-bodied Chasers quickly colonise new sites, including garden ponds © I. Johnson

Seasonality / Flight Period

Adults generally fly from early May to mid-August, but early and late records would be particularly interesting - if you are not sure, please send a photograph with your record.

Life Cycle

Mating is very brief and usually takes place in the air, lasting only a few seconds. The female will then lay her eggs by dabbing the tip of her abdomen at the surface of the water, while the male guards her by hovering close by. The eggs hatch after a couple of weeks and the dull brown, hairy larva (or nymph) will live underwater for 1-3 years. When fully grown, the larva will climb out of the water onto a leaf or twig and the beautiful winged adult will emerge from the dull larval case. As adults, they only live for about a month, at most.


Males are very territorial: they perch on marginal vegetation to look out for females and will suddenly fly out to battle with other males, returning to their perch after successfully chasing their rivals off.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Male Broad-bodied Chaser (© BDS/C.Daguet)

Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Female Broad-bodied Chaser © Owen Burnham

Distribution of the Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa

The Broad-bodied Chaser is fairly common in southern Britain, being generally distributed throughout Wales and south of the Humber in England (but expanding northwards).

Broad-bodied Chaser distribution map

Broad-bodied Chaser –GB distribution map

The pale grey circles represent records of the Broad-bodied Chaser received before the year 2000. The dark red circles represent records received in the last six years.

There has been a worrying drop in records, and the British Dragonfly Society is hoping that this reflects a decrease in the number of people sending records rather than a decline in the Broad-bodied Chasers’ distribution. But to ascertain this WE NEED YOUR RECORDS!



National Biodiversity Network Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Joint Nature Conservation Committee