Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Lestes forcipatus  Rambur, 1842
Sweetflag Spreadwing


Lestidae, Spreadwing Family

Status-Global/State:

Global: G5     Wisconsin: S4    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This species can be difficult to separate from the two subspecies of the northern and southern spreadwing subspecies (see that species for discussion of difficulties). The male's thorax is blackish above with pale shoulder stripes and pale tan to blue-gray sides. Often there are small dark spots on lower sides of the thorax. The abdomen is blackish above with a pale gray tip when mature. The colors are obscured by pruinosity as the spreadwings age, especially in males. The male is usually elongated with the female more sturdy. The female's thorax is blackish above with pale shoulder stripes. The abdomen is blackish above as well. The northern, southern and lyre-tipped spreadwings are very similar to the sweetflag spreadwing in appearance. The body length varies from 1.3 to 1.7 inches. Both genders often have a pale brown spot on lower sides of the thorax like the spotted spreadwing, but paler.

Description of Habitat/Range:

The sweetflag spreadwing is usually found at temporary and permanent ponds, marshy lakes, and slow streams. It ranges throughout eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It is occasionally found in scattered northern counties in Wisconsin. However, it is difficult to separate from the northern spreadwing and southern spreadwing, and because survey effort for spreadwings in Wisconsin has been generally inadequate, its distribution in the state is poorly known.

Flight Season:

Mid-July to early September in Wisconsin.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
9%
(11)
43%
(54)
42%
(52)
6%
(8)
Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male sweetflag spreadwing
Male sweetflag spreadwing. © Dan Jackson

Male sweetflag spreadwing
Photo of Male sweetflag spreadwing
Male sweetflag spreadwing. © Mike Reese

Male sweetflag spreadwing
Photo of Close-up of male sweetflag spreadwing appendages
Close-up of male sweetflag spreadwing appendages. © Mike Reese

Close-up of male sweetflag spreadwing appendages
Photo of Female sweetflag spreadwing
Female sweetflag spreadwing. © Dan Jackson

Female sweetflag spreadwing



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