Suborder: Zygoptera
(Damselflies)

Family: Lestidae
California Spreadwing
Common Spreadwing
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing
Spotted Spreadwing
Emerald Spreadwing

Lestidae: The Spreadwings

Family Facts:

Genus: Archilestes
These are very large damselflies with a more robust build than the other members of this family. The coloration is tan to brown with black markings, with no metallic highlights common in Lestes. They are usually found at slow streams. The females oviposit in woody stems that overhang the water. The naiads live in pools and backwaters.

Archilestes californica- California Spreadwing

Genus: Lestes
These are large damselflies with elongate abdomens, though the females can appear somewhat stout. The coloration is bronze or metallic green on the upper surface, and yellow or pale green below, with older individuals becoming pruinose on the thorax. The eyes are usually blue. These damselflies are usually found at ponds or marshes with emergent vegetation. The females oviposit in the stems of emergent aquatic plants such as sedges and bulrushes, usually well above the waterline. They hatch out when the stems become submerged, either as water levels rise or stems die and fall into the water.

Lestes congener- Spotted Spreadwing
Lestes disjunctus- Common Spreadwing
Lestes dryas- Emerald Spreadwing
Lestes unguiculatus- Lyre-tipped Spreadwing


Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Page design by Ean Harker ©2000.
Original images provided by Dennis Paulson,2001.