Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Nehalennia irene  (Hagen, 1861)
Sedge Sprite

Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The sprites are easily separated from all other damselflies by their small size and metallic green thorax without stripes. The sedge sprite varies from 0.9 to 1.2 inches in length. The male has a bright metallic green thorax with yellowish-green to blue sides. The abdomen is mostly dark iridescent green except for a blue tip. The sphagnum sprite's abdomen has more blue on its tip.The male is similar to the sphagnum sprite female, but with darker dorsal markings at its end of the abdomen. The female is similar to the male, but with yellowish thoracic sides. The abdomen is dark green with the very tip pale. The legs are slender. The clear wings are moderately long and narrow.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Throughout northern United States and southern Canada, this species is usually found at a variety of non-moving water habitats, including marshes, ponds, and fens. Either near water or away from water, they usually restrict their flight to areas with dense vegetation, usually emergent grasses. It is abundant and widespread throughout Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Mid-May to early September in Wisconsin.

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 sedge sprite
Male sedge sprite. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male sedge sprite
Male sedge sprite. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female sedge sprite
Female sedge sprite. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Sedge sprite ovipositing pair
Sedge sprite ovipositing pair. © Dan Jackson

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