Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013 - the year of the Vagrant Emperor

Check out this guy - a Vagrant Emperor (Hemianax ephippiger) dragonfly captured at Castleventry, West Cork earlier this year.

This individual is one of seven reported this year - a surprise since just two had been identified in Ireland since one was first recorded, in Dublin in 1913. The Dragonfly Ireland Facebook group describe the sightings this year as "absolutely inprecedented".

Dragonfly Ireland has also produced a useful map of Vagrant Emperor records in Ireland. (2013 records are indicated by orange circles; two reports were logged in 2011- orange squares; and the original Dublin sighting is indicated by a blue dot).

Dragonfly Ireland have produced this map of Vagrant Emperor sightings in Ireland.

One of the West Cork sightings was by 'friend of the blog' Kieran Lettice who reports that his family cat dragged the creature into the house (unharmed) one night in late September.After extracting it from the jaws of a proud feline, the emperor was photographed and released without any obvious injuries.

While Kieran and yours truly were able to make a preliminary identification, it fell to butterfly and moth expert Ken Bond to make a definitive identification.

The Vagrant Emperor is native to North Africa and is generally described as a rare long-distance visitor to UK and Ireland. Although it has even been found dead or dying as far North as Iceland, and even as far West as South America; its travels are quite remarkable given its size and fragile appearence. An emperor of vagrants, to be sure!


  © Communicate Science; Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2012

Back to TOP