This page contains pictures and information about Australian Emerald Dragonflies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. They are also known as Sentry Dragonflies.
- Male, Body length 50mm, never rest during the day.
Australian Emeralds are long and slender, with black pattern on
yellow colour. The black patterns are shiny blue green under the sun.
Their eyes and mouth occupy almost all
their head with bright green in colour. They
are medium in size, body
length about 50mm.
- The Australian Emerald
Dragonflies are strong flyer and spend most of the time flying in air. They look very similar to another Emerald species Tau
Emerald. Their wings colour is different and there is no T-mark on the Australian Emerald
face. They can be found at the same place. Because both of them
never rest, it is difficult to distinguish between them. However, the Tau
Emeralds are less common.
The second picture was taken early in the morning, the Australian Emerald
Dragonfly nymph came out from water and just emerged and become an adult. More
about dragonflies life cycle please visit this page.
Always in Air
During day time, you can hardly come close to them. The Australian Emerald
Dragonfly will fly away long before
you come into the two meters distance.
Males usually patrols in their
territories about half a meter above water. Their favored territories are
over small pools of water with a lot of weeds in the water, those pools usually
cut off from the main water stream by thick and tall emergent vegetations. Those
areas are also have an open sky.
If you come within their
territories and stay motionless, they will come close to you, about two meters,
and still in the air to inspect what you are. If they get used to with you, they
may fly closer to you. If you disturb them or try to catch them, they will fly
up to the sky and disappear for quite a while.
They rest at night and usually stay
high on top of the tree. To take the pictures of this dragonfly we need good camera, patient and luck.
- The Australian Emerald Dragonflies female and male look the same and have the same
colours. Also notice
their eyes colour changed from brown to emerald when matured.
- We sometimes found this
dragonfly in our backyard at a mid summer night where is at lease one km
away from creeks or ponds. Like all members in
CORDULIIDAE and HEMICORDULIIDAE family, when perched, they usually hang suspended
vertically. They rest high on trees at night. At rest, the dragonfly had no response to
our approach and closer
look at it is possible. It just stay motionless for a whole night.
- Young male Young male
Australian Emerald Dragonflies have emerald eyes when
matured (see picture below), but
brown in immature stage, like the above picture shown. In immature stage, they
usually hunt far away from water.
- Mature male Mature male
- When they become mature, they fly back to the water. The male are now
brightly green under the sun. The eyes are in bright green colour. The male
usually flying up and down along the creek to protect their territories. They
usually fly about 0.5 to 1 meter over the water, sometime stand still in the
- Just before mating, the Australian Emerald Dragonflies form tandem when they are flying.
Within a very short time the female curves her abdomen to form a wheel pair
while they are still in rapid flight. Then the couple will land some where
on the nearby vegetation to complete the mating.
- The above picture shows two Australian Emerald Dragonflies are mating in wheel position. The male
uses his tail to hold the back of female's head. The female curves her
abdomen to reach his sperm pouch. They hold this mating position for
about 15 minutes. The above first picture
was taken on a pond along the Bulimba Creek in late summer. The second
was in Yugarapul Park.
- We observed that Australian Emerald female lay her eggs alone, not
in tandem nor guarded by the male. She flies zig-zag over the surface with
plants in the water. She dips her tip of abdomen in the water
quickly. More information can be found in Mating
and Reproduction page.
Two Australian Emeralds on Spider web
- Dragonflies and Damselflies have very good eyesight so in general they can
avoid the spider web. However, we saw two Australian Emeralds get caught in spiders
web, like the about pictures, a couple of times. We can imagine that this was because a Australian Emerald
intruder came into the territory of another Australian Emerald, both fought
with each other and forgot to watch out for the dangers. Both end up in the
- The Australian Emerald Dragonfly has two pair of wings which are about equal
in size. They are clean in colour. Its veins pattern are similar to
Emerald but it is black in colour, the T-Mark Emerald veins are yellow-brown in colour.
- 1. The Australian Dragonflies - CSIRO, Watson, Theisinger & Abbey,1991,
- 2. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric
Nattrass, 2006, p76.
- 3. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, GŁnther Theischinger and John Hawking, 2006,
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