New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
Wildlife composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
***** For information about New Forest access restrictions and related matters, check out the Forestry England website. *****

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)

Where: Most often seen on heathland, particularly around heathland pools
When: Early May to early August
How many: Relatively widespread, but rarely abundant
Female Broad-bodied Chaser
Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Often the first 'large' dragonflies of the year to be seen on the wing in the New Forest, Broad-bodied Chasers are present from May until August, but tend to be more conspicuous during the early and middle parts of their flight period.

Females are a striking golden yellow-brown colour with lighter yellow markings along the edge of their fattened abdomens. Males - pale, powder blue creatures with similar yellow abdominal markings - are aggressive, highly territorial insects that can often be seen chasing away rivals and even dragonflies of other species.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser
Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Wingspan is around 7.5 centimetres, whilst length is 4.5 centimetres. As the name suggests, both sexes are noticeably 'broad-bodied'. Perches - sticks protruding from the water, for example, or fallen branches in the water - are regularly used, so-much-so that excellent views can be obtained by simply identifying a favoured perch and then sitting and waiting for the insect to return.

(Four-spotted Chasers also occur in the New Forest, but tend to be less frequently seen than their broad-bodied cousins, have predominantly dark brown, relatively slender abdomens and two dark spots - rather than one - on each wing. Scarce Chasers are also present, but are infrequently seen - mature individuals are superficially similar in colour and markings to Broad-bodied Chasers, but are marginally smaller and have comparatively slender abdomens without yellow edge markings).

A Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain: Dan Powell
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Britain and Northern Europe: Bob Gibbons

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley