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Swamp Spreadwing



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Lestes vigilax

Hagen in Selys, 1862


Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Lestoidea
Family Lestidae
Genus Lestes
Species vigilax Hagen in Selys, 1862 [Lestes]


Identification

This large metallic species is restricted to the eastern portion of the region. The face of the male is pale blue in front contrasting with green sides. The top of the head is dark metallic green or black and the eyes are brilliant blue. The thorax and abdomen are dark metallic green or black and there is an irregular pale brown humeral stripe on the thorax. The middorsal and antealar carinae are both pale. The mesepimeron is dark except for the pale anteroventral corner. The metepisternum and remainder of the pterothorax are pale yellow ventrally. The legs are dark ex ternally. The abdomen is dark metallic green dorsally and pale yellow ventrally. In most individuals there is a fine pale line running dorsally down segments 2-5. Ventrolateral markings are absent, but the pattern expands subapically on segments 6-10. In older individuals pruinosity develops on segments 1 and 9 and the basal portion of 10. The paraprocts are thin and nearly as long as the cerci. Females similar to males, but the eyes are brown. The pale humeral stripe is wider and always running the full-length of the suture. The dark areas of the thorax are bronze or brown. The ventrolateral areas of the pterothorax are pale yellow. Abdominal segments 8-10 are pale laterally. There is a distinct posterolateral tooth on the basal plate of the ovipositor.

Size

Total length: 43-55 mm; abdomen: 36-45 mm; hindwing: 23-27 mm.

Similar Species

Elegant Spreadwing (L. inaequalis ) is slightly larger than Swamp Spreadwing and it has a brighter green abdomen and sides of the thorax are more yellow. The rear of the head is black in Swamp Spreadwing and yellow in Elegant Spreadwing. Emerald Spreadwing (L. dryas ) is substantially smaller.

Habitat

Generally found in shaded acidic waters such as bogs, lakes, swamps, oxbows and slow streams.

Discussion

Much of the biology and reproductive behavior of this species still remains unknown. Females lay eggs in tandem in emergent vegetation and never submergent plants. One study noted that this species prefers heavily shaded areas.

Distribution

Southeastern Canada south to Florida; west to Oklahoma and Texas; north to Minnesota.