Lestes congener
(Spotted Spreadwing)

Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Order Description:
Family: Lestidae
Family Description: Spreadwing

   Naiad- This is a long naiad about 1 inch (22 to 26 mm) long. It has the typical slender damselfly shape. The coloration is medium to dark brown.
   Adult- This is a large damselfly 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inches (30 to 41 mm) long. The build is slender with short wings in proportion to the length of the abdomen. The thorax is bronze-black with a yellow stripe down the center on the upper surface. In the males, the lower anal appendages are less than half as long as the upper appendages.

This damselfly has an extensive range. It is found from British Columbia east to Nova Scotia, and south to New Jersey, New Mexico, and California. In Idaho it is found throughout the state.

This species is found at ponds with shorelines heavily vegetated with cattails, bulrushes or sedges.

Adult Flight Season:
June 26 to October 15

   Naiad- A wide variety of aquatic insects, including mosquito larvae, mayfly larvae, and other aquatic fly larvae.
   Adult- A wide variety of small soft-bodied flying insects, such as mosquitoes, mayflies, flies and small moths.

This species is widespread, and tends to be very abundant in its favored habitats. At the large marsh north of Bear Lake this species swarms in late summer, together with the Common Spreadwing (L. congener), and the Lyre-tipped Spreadwing (L. unguiculatus). The naiads are very active, rapacious hunters, and are thus vulnerable to predation by fish. As a result, they are often found in shallow marshes and ponds that may dry up in summer. However, this species does occur in permanent bodies of water as well.

After males and females mate, the female Spotted Spreadwing oviposits in tandem in vegetation 1 to 3 inches over the waterline. During mating times they can be very numerous. At one location, the density of Spotted Spreadwing pairs laying their eggs was about 4 per square foot.

Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.

Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design by Ean Harker, 2001.

HTML by Marty Peck, 2001.