Black Spreadwing is a
black-and-white pond spreadwing that is
through the California lowlands. Its status in Monterey County is not
as there are currently only two specific records. Yet these are so far
apart that one suspects it is also a widespread ode of temporary ponds
and marshes throughout the MTY foothills. The photos (above &
are of MTY's second record, found by Steve Rovell on 14 July 2006 at a
pond east of Salinas. It is a nice male with black-and-white abdominal
pattern and blue eyes.
& below) 14 July 2006
at Lagunita Lake
© Steve Rovell, used with
use Rovell's full-frame shot (right) to illustrate the actual size of
spreadwing: about 2 inches long. Yet it is considered to be the
stockiest" of our local pond spreadwings (Manolis 2003). Like all the
it perches with the wings spread apart. Recent genetic evidence
that spreadwings are not part of the damselfly suborder but are either
better placed within the dragonfly suborder, or, possibly, in an
position, similar to a "living fossil" suborder in eastern Asia [see
discussion of "taxonomy and phylogeny" on the MTY
The first MTY record of Black Spreadwing was found by Paul Johnson on 2
July 2005 along the upper Arroyo Seco River, "5 km SW of Junipero Serra
peak, at the crossing of Arroyo Seco [=Indians?] Road, lat/long: N
W 121.46° N" per the details on the Univ. of Texas web site. The
here was 690 m., and the habitat described as a "small, sluggish, shady
stream." It is said that the specimen "will be deposited in Essig
of Entomology, UC Berkeley." This was just north of The Indians and
before the road is closed by a gate.
||In Steve Rovell's close-up shot of the male
appendage, we can see the
important i.d. features for Black Spreadwing. The two curved cerci are
outermost, and between them are the two paraprocts (lower appendages).
These are long and 'foot-shaped' at their tips, with the 'feet' toeing
At Lake Lagunitas, on private property in the
Diablo Range foothills
east of Salinas, Rovell found MTY's second L. stultus along the
edge of reeds growing in a farm pond that is used as a drinking spot
cattle. The Arroyo Seco River site, and the Lake Lagunitas site are a
distance apart and are in the foothills of different mountain ranges.
makes me suspect that Black Spreadwing is waiting to be found at many
with reedy ponds or slow streams in-between.
Spreadwing is currently known from only two sites, but is
probably more widespread.
Both records so far are from July. Elsewhere
in California, the flight
dates range from April through July, with very few still flying into
|On a taxonomic note, Manolis (2003) cites genetic
studies that show
a very close relationship between Black Spreadwing and Emerald
dryas, a widespread montane species in California's higher
Although the color pattern between the two is quite different, the male
appendages are also very similar.
- Manolis, T. 2003. Dragonflies and Damselflies of
California. Univ. of
Major identification web sites with much information on California
For sites with excellent photos to compare for identification or to
Many of these sites have links to other useful pages. Kathy Biggs's
is particularly useful in her selection of links.
All text © Don Roberson 2007; photos
© Steve Rovell 2006, used with permission