Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Common Spreadwing

This is the Common Spreadwing in the family Lestidae and genus Lestes. They are found throughout most of North America. The ones pictured were photographed near an old pond of ours near our garden. The male was photographed last year, the female (2nd picture) was photographed last night. The shadow image is of a female as well. Like all damselfies they feed on small insects. After mating, the female will lay her eggs in the stem of a plant. She will use her ovipositor to tear into the stem. The eggs will be laid about 3 to 4 inches above the surface of the water along the shoreline. They prefer slow moving brackish water. Much like the old pond of ours where they are so plentiful. You will also find them near marshes, wetlands, and streams. This species typically will hold their wings out in a spread fashion, which gives them their common name. They grow to about 2 1/4 inches, the male is deep gray or black with greenish lines on their thorax, his abdomen is bronze with blue/ gray tip. In more mature males there will be a grayish base to the abdomen. The female is lighter in color than the male with think pale shoulder stripes and light gray/ tan or yellow sides. Her abdomen is bronze/ brown above. They have a very weak flight, they fly readily when disturbed, but land merely a few inches or feet away.

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