Lestes Dryas
(Emerald Spreadwing)

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

   Naiad- This is a long naiad a bit over 1 inch (27 to 28 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. This damselfly is a uniform dark iridescent green on the upper surfaces of both the thorax and abdomen.

This damselfly has an extremely extensive range. It is found around the world, from northern Europe and Asia to Alaska and across northern Canada to Labrador and Nova Scotia, and south to New Jersey and California. In Idaho it is found throughout the state.

This species is found at ponds that are partly shaded, and it seems to prefer ponds that dry up in the summer. The naiads do well in alkaline water.

Adult Flight Season:
June 29 to August 23

   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, but is rarely as abundant in any given location as other members of this genus. 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 that may dry up in the summer, and thus lack fish. However, they have been observed in permanent bodies of water as well. The naiads mature and emerge in the short period from the time the pond fills in the spring to when it dries in the summer. Emerald Spreadwings emerge earlier than the other members of this genus.

After males and females mate, the female Emerald Spreadwing oviposits in tandem in emergent vegetation 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 Unpublished M. S. thesis.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.