Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies
The Common Spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus) was recently split into two species: Northern Spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus) and Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis). Most individuals occurring in Nebraska are generally thought to be Southern Spreadwings. Northern Spreadwings are uncommon and have been found only in a few northern counties.
The two species are very similar and difficult to tell apart. The Northern Spreadwing is slightly darker, smaller and flies later. Examination of the male's cerci or the female's ovipositor is a more reliable method of identifying the species, although the differences are subtle. To make matters worse, male Northern Spreadwings closely resemble Sweetflag Spreadwings.
The male Northern Spreadwing is mostly black with pale green shoulder stripes and pale lower legs. The face is pale blue and the eyes are bright blue. Abdominal segments 9 and 10 are pruinose (whitish).
Northern Spreadwing male
Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Size: 33-43mm (1.3-1.7 in)
Habitat: permanent still or slowly-moving waters having emergent vegetation
Great Plains Range: NE, SD, ND, NM, CO, WY, MT, MN
Flight season: mid June to mid August
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