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Southern Sprite



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Nehalennia integricollis

Calvert, 1913


Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Nehalennia
Species integricollis Calvert, 1913 [Nehalennia]


Identification

This species is uncommon in the southwesternmost reaches of its range. It will not likely be confused with other damselflies in the region because of its small size, metallic green coloration and the presence of blue on abdominal segment 10. The cerci are short, 1/4 of the length of segment 10 and have a posteroventral apical tooth that may only be visible when viewed posteriorly. The serrated paraprocts are slightly longer than the cerci and have two to three acute teeth along the posterior margin. Females appear like males in coloration. The mesostigmal plates are subtriangular with a rounded posteromedial corner. Females lack a vulvar spin on abdominal segment 8.

Size

Total length: 20-25 mm; abdomen: 16-20 mm; hindwing: 11-14 mm.

Similar Species

Southern Sprite lacks pale antehumeral stripes and is dark metallic green not black as in Everglades Sprite (N. pallidula ) . Female Citrine (I. hastata ) and Fragile (I. posita ) Forktails have a pale antehumeral stripe and the dorsum of abdominal segment 10 is black or pale orange.

Habitat

Ponds, lakes, bogs and slow reaches of streams with moderately dense vegetation.

Discussion

This is one of the smallest and least studied sprites occurring in North America. It has been reported from a diversity of habitats, including sandhill lakes in Florida and sphagnum bogs in New Jersey. The most recent records in the region have coincidentally been in Sam Houston State Park (Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana ) and Sam Houston National Forest (San Jacinto Co., Texas). It has been reported only from the southern extremities in Louisiana, where more looking will result in additional populations. Southern Sprite is generally found close to the ground perching in thick clusters of sedges and grasses.

Distribution

Eastern U.S. from New York to Texas.