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Rainpool Spreadwing

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Lestes forficula

Rambur, 1842

Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Lestoidea
Family Lestidae
Genus Lestes
Species forficula Rambur, 1842 [Lestes]
Syn Lestes striatus Selys, 1862


This tropical species extends north into Texas. The middorsal carina is pale yellow bordered on each side by thin black line. The mesepisternum is pale blue to yellow with a thin metallic green antehumeral stripe extending much less than half the width of the sclerite. The stripe is the same width for nearly its entire length, widening only slightly posteriorly. It lies closer to the middorsal carina but widely separated from it and the humeral suture. A second thinner me tallic green stripe runs nearly the full-length of the mesepimeron. Teneral individuals have dark spots above the anterior end of the metapleural carina on the otherwise pale yellow thorax. Dark stripes develop along both the interpleural and metapleural sutures and expand with age. The ventral side of pterothorax in mature individuals becomes heavily pruinose. Abdominal segment 1 is black except for a small ventrolateral pale spot. Segments 2-6 are dark metallic green dorsally, expanding slightly subapically on segments 3-5. Segment 6 and beyond are considerably darker ventrolaterally; becoming even darker with age. Segments 1, 8-10 and the lateral part of 2 all become heavily pruinose. The paraprocts ar nearly as long as the cerci. The general coloration of the head and the pterothorax in the female is similar to the male. The mesothorax is pale yellow with a dark hairline and posterior spot on the humeral suture. Thin antehumeral metallic green stripe is nearly absent in teneral ind ividuals. There are dark hairline stripes along interpleural and metapleural sutures and a slight pruinosity develops with age on the coxae and metathorax. Abdominal segment 1 varies in color from blue to black. The middle segments, 2-6, are similar to those of the male and segments 7-10 are dark brown dorsally becoming paler laterally. The basal plate of the ovipositor is produced into a long, acuminate tooth.


Total length: 35-43; abdomen: 28-36 mm; hindwing: 17-24 mm

Similar Species

Rainpool Spreadwing is the only Spreadwing with a metallic green antehumeral stripe and dark (not metallic green ) abdomen. The antehumeral stripes can become obscured in older males.


Ponds, pools, other standing bodies of water; possibly slow reaches of streams, with heavy emergent vegetation.


Females lay eggs both accompanied and unaccompanied by males, in sedges 8-10 inches above the water surface. This species probably flies year round farther south in its range and has been taken in a variety of habitats including rain pools, rivers and sewage ponds.


Texas, Mexico and south through Central America and West Indies to Argentina and Brazil.