The Four Spotted Chaser
This is another early season dragonfly that can be seen in locally large numbers from early to mid May and is one of the first dragonflies on the wing each season. Its flight season is long and can last until mid August.
It derives its name from the four spots, one located centrally on the front leading edge of each of its wings. Early specimens can display vivid colouring as can be seen in the main pictures.
This Chaser is widely distributed all of the United Kingdom and is a common sight on all manner of stillwater, canals, bogs and slow flowing rivers.
Both sexes are very similar in appearance as can be seen in the images here (the male above and the female below). Their main colouring is an orange / brown when immature, this fades with age to an olive / dull brown in mature specimens.
The wings which are quite magnificent are clear and have dark patches at their base which are typical of all the Chaser Dragonflies. The four abdominal segments towards the tail are partially black.
The best way to tell the sexes apart is to closely examine the anal appendages. The males meet initially and then diverge, the females are more or less parallel to one another. Otherwise there is very little difference.