Four-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata

European common name: Four-spotted Chaser

The Four-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata, is a mid-sized dragonfly with distinctive wing patterns that give it its name. Often returns to the same perch in between feeding and defending its territory.


LibellulidaeChasers, Skimmers, & Darters

A mid-sized dragonfly, habitually perching on reeds and vegetation that overhangs the water.  Easy to identify due to the diagnostic wing patterns.

The male is yellowish-brown in colour. The abdomen has bright yellow lateral spots, from the middle of the short and broad abdomen to the tip. The end of the abdomen is dark, giving it a black-tailed appearance.

Sexes are similar, the female becoming a duller brown with age. Separating male from female is best done by comparison of the appendages; the female’s are separate at the base, but the male’s appear to touch.

Both sexes share the markings at the node of each wing, and the long dark pterostigma, that give the species its common name. Both sets of wings are suffused with amber towards the base and at the tip near the pterostigma, with the hind wing also having a prominent dark basal patch. Some individuals have more extensive markings around the pterostigma, and more amber suffusion on the wings leading edge, a form called praenubila.

Overall length: 40 – 48 mm
Wings: 32 – 40 mm

Very distinctive dragonfly, with only the mature female Scarce Chaser – Libellua fulva a potential candidate for confusion. These are duller and lack the diagnostic wing spots and yellow abdominal markings of the Four-spotted.

Common at ponds and lakes that feature plenty of vegetation, where they will perch at the water’s edge surveying their territory.

Less commonly found along slower rivers.

Common throughout the county at still water sites like Felmersham NR, Marston Vale CP, Priory CP, Sundon Quarry. I’ve seen many along the River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham.

Visible between early May and late August, peaking in June.

Four-spotted Chaser - Libellula quadrimaculata Male, Felmersham NR.
Male Four-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata
Four-spotted Chaser - Libellula quadrimaculata Teneral female - Felmersham NR.
Female Four-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata

External links for Four-spotted Chaser – Libellula quadrimaculata:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia