A rare species of dragonfly has been spotted in Sidmouth.

The Vagrant Emperor dragonfly, scientific name Anax ephippiger, was found on the croquet lawn on Sunday, November 19 by Ed Dolphin from the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group. It is a female, which has a paler blue segment near the top of its abdomen than the male.

The British Dragonfly Society said the species is a rare long-distance migrant from Africa and the Middle East.  There were only six sightings nationally in 2022.  When they do arrive in England it is often in late summer and they usually die before the end of November as the weather becomes too cold for them to feed.

Ed Dolphin said: "I was just about to play a shot when I saw it apparently resting on the lawn.  I realised it was in trouble because it didn't move as I approached it.  Dragonflies have incredible eyesight and will normally fly away long before you get near them. 

"I moved it carefully and put it in a sunny spot out of the wind, and the croquet balls, but warming it up made no difference and it didn't revive.  I was sure it was coming to the end of its time.  It disappeared overnight, possibly it flew away, but it is more likely that one of the many birds that feed around the club had it for breakfast."

The sighting has been added to the national database maintained by the British Dragonfly Society and the National Biodiversity Network Trust.