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Toady a friend saw an insect in his garden, in the UK (England).

It looks like a combination of a hover wasp, a wasp and a dragonfly. Whist flying, I'd describe it more similar to a dragonfly.

I've used Google images to try and identify it, and come close, but the creature was about 3 inches long and up to 1 inch wide. I thought it was a broad-bodied chaser but he assures me (possibly incorrectly) it wasn't big enough

enter image description here

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I would agree with you on this one - looks like a female or young male Libellula depressa (the 'broad bodied chaser') to me. It has the characteristic broad, flattened abdomen and the distinctive brown-yellow abdomen with bright yellow patches and the dark wing bases are both visible (the latter only just, to be fair). The broad abdomen differentiates it from the other Chaser and Skimmer dragonflies while the colour is quite distinctive (the species is sexually dimorphic; mature males have a blue abdomen while females and young males have a yellow abdomen). Not sure what you friend is talking about regarding the size; 3in long is about right for L. depressa. It's in the right geographical region too.

(thanks to @RHA for pointing out to me that young males also have yellow abdomens!)

female Libellula depressa Citation from Wikimedia Commons: By No machine-readable author provided. Bogdan assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=754252

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    $\begingroup$ You are correct, this is undoubtely libellula depressa. However, immature males lack the characteristic blue color and look the same as females. So it can be a young male as well. $\endgroup$ – RHA Jun 11 '16 at 19:30

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