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Cordulie splendide (Macromia splendens)

• Scientific name: Macromia splendens (Pictet, 1843)
• English name: Splendid Cruiser
• German name: Europäischer Flussherrscher
• French name: Cordulie splendide
• Dutch name: Prachtlibel
• Swedish name: N/A
• Norwegian name: N/A
• Finnish name: N/A
• Danish name: N/A
• Italian name: N/A
• Czech name: N/A
• Slovenian name: N/A
• Bulgarian name: N/A
• Typical length: 70-75 mm
• Hindwing: 42-49 mm

Cordulie splendide (Macromia splendens)

Distribution map

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies

Standing waist-deep in a slow-flowing river and watching a male Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) cruising towards you is a truly wonderful experience. With his fast, straight, low, unhurried flight the male tirelessly searches the river banks for ovipositing females. And that's all he will do for many, many hours on end. Those females, by contrast, only seem to come down to the water to oviposit - secretively and only for a few seconds - before they whoosh off again to the safety of the tree tops. On a field trip to the South of Spain in June 2010 we saw about a dozen males but only got one single photo opportunity on the very last day of our trip during one of those exceedingly rare hang-ups. To photograph Macromia splendens you really do need lots and lots of patience and twice as much luck. [Update: in June 2012 and June 2015 we did manage to photograph a few males at rest, but females and copulas still remain on our to-do list.] The Splendid Cruiser is the only European member of the genus Macromia (which, worldwide, has about 80 members) and it is without a doubt one of our most enigmatic species. Its range is limited to the South of France, Spain and Portugal, where it inhabits reservoirs and the deeper, calmer sections of rivers and streams.

Line DrawingLineDrawing: the male's wings and abdomen in dorsal view.

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