Archilestes californica
all photo this page 21 Oct 2006 Lake San Antonio
California Spreadwing is a late flyer. Adults don't usually appear until autumn. Manolis (2003) says the flight range is late June into November, with a peak in September-October. In autumn 2006, it was considered by some to be the 'most likely' species not then on the MTY checklist to actually be present in numbers in the county, so serious efforts to locate the species were undertaken in Sep and early Oct 2006 without success. It was purely by happenstance that a small breeding colony was discovered in late Oct 2006 along the shores of Lake San Antonio.
These are large spreadwings — obviously larger than all the pond spreadwings in genus Lestes — with lovely golden-tan pterostigmas, mahogany brown abdomen with thin black-and-buff rings, and a broad white upper lateral stripe on the thorax that does not reach the hindwing. Sexes are similar except that males (top photo) have bright blue eyes and whitish pruinescence on abdominal segments 9 and 10. This pair (right) was hanging in tandem; no actual ovipositing was observed. The male paraprocts are bushy and aligned in parallel (below).

The location of this colony (3 males and a female were seen within a very small area) was on the shore of Lake San Antonio at the Pleyto Cemetery Road arm. In October 2006 the water level was very high — in past autumns the water level has been much lower and the area these spreadwings were frequenting would be a long, long ways from the lakeshore. As it was, the lake level was so high that it had submerged brush and short willows along what is usually a small creek next to Pleyto Cemetery Road. [The little town of Pleyto was submerged by the creation of Lake San Antonio in 1967.]
The map shows the only known spot for California Spreadwing in MTY: along the shores of Lake San Antonio at the Pleyto Cemetery arm. Efforts to locate it along the major rivers in MTY were unsuccessful, at least in fall 2006.

The only date so far is 21 Oct 2006. Elsewhere in California it flies late June into November, with peak breeding in Sep-Oct (2006).

Literature cited:
  • Manolis, T. 2003. Dragonflies and Damselflies of California. Univ. of Calif. Press, Berkeley.
Web resources:
Major identification web sites with much information on California odes include: For sites with excellent photos to compare for identification or to simply enjoy, see: Many of these sites have links to other useful pages. Kathy Biggs's site is particularly useful in her selection of links.

All photos © Don Roberson 2007


Page created 25 Oct 2006