Lestes Unguiculatus
(Lyre-tipped 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. Both the males and females are mostly bronzy-green on the upper surface of the thorax and abdomen. The lower pair of anal appendages is "S"shaped with the tips pointing outwards when viewed from above.

This species is found across North America from southern British Columbia east to Nova Scotia and south to New Jersey, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and California. In Idaho it is found throughout the state.

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

Adult Flight Season:
June 30 to August 27

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

This species can be incredibly abundant at large sedge marshes, such as the one north of Bear Lake. The naiads are very active, rapacious hunters, and because of this, are vulnerable to predation by fish. As a result they are generally found in shallow marshes and ponds that may dry up in summer and thus lack fish. 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.

After males and females mate, the female Lyre-tipped Spreadwing lays eggs well above the waterline on vegetation that grows out of water. Where populations are extremely dense they can actually damage the plants on which they lay their eggs.

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 Unpublished M. S. thesis.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.