The body length of a lyre-tipped spreadwing varies from 1.2 to 1.8 inches. Under magnification, the male is easily separated from other spreadwings by its "S"-shaped terminal appendages, hence its name. The male's thorax is dark bronzy above, often becoming blue-gray with age. The thorax has pale shoulder stripes and gray sides. The abdomen is dark green to blackish above a pale gray tip when mature. The male is usually elongated with the female more sturdy. The female's thorax is greenish above with pale shoulder stripes and pale tan sides. The back of the female's head is usually pale (see photo below). The abdomen is green above and pale yellowish below. It is very similar to the northern, southern and sweetflag spreadwings in appearance.
Description of Habitat/Range:
The lyre-tipped spreadwing is usually found at small open vegetated temporary or permanent ponds, and sloughs. It ranges throughout Canada and northern United States, including the mountains in the west. In Wisconsin, it is occasionally found at scattered sites throughout the state. Like other spreadwings, knowledge about its statewide distribution has been hampered by inadequate survey effort.