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Lestes inaequalis
Elegant Spreadwing

Walsh, 1862
Lestidae, Spreadwing Family
photo of Male elegant spreadwing
Male elegant spreadwing — Dan Jackson
Status-Global/State:
Global: G5 Wisconsin: S2S3
Distinguishing Characteristics:
The elegant spreadwing is large, slender, and strikingly colored. It generally varies from 1.8 to 2.3 inches in the body length. The male's thorax is bright metallic green with lemon-yellow sides. The abdomen is bright green above with a blue-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 is similar but with somewhat duller coloration. Both sexes are very similar to the swamp spreadwing, but are larger and brighter green above and with less distinctive brown shoulder stripes. The amber-winged spreadwing is stockier, less greenish, has dark diagonal streaks on the thorax, and amber-washed wings.
Description of Habitat/Range:
This species is usually found at permanent ponds, slow streams, lakes, and marshy bays. The elegant spreadwing ranges throughout eastern United States and parts of southeast Canada. In Wisconsin, it has been found in low numbers at scattered locations around the state.
Flight Season:
Mid-June to early August in Wisconsin.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male elegant spreadwing
Male elegant spreadwing — Dan Jackson
photo of Male elegant spreadwing
Male elegant spreadwing — Jim Lind
photo of Close-up of male elegant spreadwing thorax
Close-up of male elegant spreadwing thorax — Dan Jackson
photo of Side (top image) and top view of cercus for male elegant spreadwing
Side (top image) and top view of cercus for male elegant spreadwing — Dan Jackson
photo of Female elegant spreadwing
Female elegant spreadwing — Dan Jackson
photo of Close-up of female elegant spreadwing thorax
Close-up of female elegant spreadwing thorax — Dan Jackson
photo of Side view of female elegant spreadwing abdomen tip
Side view of female elegant spreadwing abdomen tip — Dan Jackson
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