Lestes Disjunctus
(Common Spreadwing)

Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Order Description:
Family: Lestidae
Family Description: Spreadwing

   Naiad- This is a long naiad 1 to 1 ¼ inches (23 to 29 mm) long. It has the typical slender damselfly shape. The color is medium to dark brown.
   Adult- This is a large damselfly 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inches (30 to 41 mm) long. The build is slender with short wings in proportion to the length of the abdomen. The thorax is bronze-black with a yellow stripe down the center on the upper surface. In the males, the lower anal appendages are more than half as long as the upper appendages.

This damselfly has an extensive range. It is found from Alaska across northern Canada to Labrador, and south to Florida and California. In Idaho it is found throughout the state.

This species is found at a wide range of aquatic habitats, but is most numerous in weedy ponds, marshes, and slow streams.

Adult Flight Season:
July 4 to October 17

   Naiad- Naiads eat a wide variety of aquatic insects, including mosquito larvae, mayfly larvae, and other aquatic fly larvae.
   Adult- Adults eat a wide variety of small soft-bodied flying insects, such as mosquitoes, mayflies, flies and small moths.

This species is extremely widespread, and tends to be very abundant in its favored habitats. At the large marsh north of Bear Lake this species swarms in late summer, together with the Spotted Spreadwing (L. congener), and the Lyre-tipped Spreadwing (L. unguiculatus). The naiads are very active, rapacious hunters, which makes them vulnerable to predation by fish. As a result, they are often found in shallow marshes and ponds areas that may dry up in summer, and thus lacks fish. However, this species does occur in permanent bodies of water as well. The naiads have from the time the pond fills up in the spring to when it dries up in the summer to mature and emerge.

After males and females mate, the female Common Spreadwing flies in tandem to oviposit in vegetation that is growing out of the water. She usually lays her eggs well above the waterline.

Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.

Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design by Ean Harker, 2001.