Golden-ringed dragonfly

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

©Paul Blair

Golden-ringed dragonfly

Scientific name: Cordulegaster boltonii
A voracious predator that will even eat other dragonflies, the Golden-ringed dragonfly is the UK's longest species. It can be found around acidic streams in moorland and heathland habitats.

Species information


Length: 7.4-8.4cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


The Golden-ringed dragonfly is a very large dragonfly that is on the wing from May to September. It is a dragonfly of small, acidic streams in moorland and heathland, and may be found away from its breeding sites. The female of this species is the UK's longest dragonfly because of her long ovipositor. Golden-ringed dragonflies are voracious predators, feeding on large insects, such as damselflies, other dragonflies, wasps, beetles and bumblebees. They are fast, agile and powerful flyers.

How to identify

Both sexes of the Golden-ringed dragonfly are black, with yellow bands along the body and bright-green eyes. Females are longer and thinner than the males, who display a 'waisted' appearance.


Found in West Scotland, Cumbria, Southern England, and Wales.

Did you know?

The larvae of the Golden-ringed dragonfly live buried at the bottom of streams, ambushing prey as it passes by. They grow very slowly and may spend as long as five years in the water before they emerge to turn into a dragonfly.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.