Lestes congener
photo (above) 14 Oct 2006 Arroyo Seco Lakes
Spotted Spreadwing is a small, dark spreadwing that appears late in the yearly cycle. Males (above & below) have bright blue eyes, blackish upper surface to body, and thin tan stripes on the thorax. They prefer the edges of quiet reedy ponds.
photo (above & below) 14 Oct 2006 Arroyo Seco Lakes 
Spotted Spreadwing is similar to Black Spreadwing — an earlier flying species using similar habitats — but Spotted is smaller and less stocky, and males are separable by their appendages. The paraprocts are very short, as can be seen in the two photos below. Compare those to Black Spreadwing [and see also Manolis 2003].
Females are tan-and-white (right & below). The species is named for a set of small black spots on the underside of the thorax. Both sexes have these spots, and they are visible in these pics of females. Apparently Black Spreadwing can sometimes also have similar spots (Manolis 2003), so looking at appendages is important. Note also the brown pterostigma on these females.
photo (above) 5 Aug 2006 Arroyo Seco Lakes
photo (below) 24 July 2006 Arroyo Seco Lakes
Females (left) can be separated from Black Spreadwing by the relative length of the ovipositor and 7th abdominal segment (below). On Spotted, the 7th segment is longer than the ovipositor. On Black, the ovipositor is the same as, or longer than, the 7th segment
Spotted Spreadwing can be even more complicated, though, because old males can have so much pruinescense that the thorax becomes pale silvery-purple. When I encountered these in the high Sierra (photo below from Alpine County), it certainly confused me because the odes were so pale. I haven't seen any like this in MTY yet.
Photo (above) 14 Aug 2006 Indian Valley Reservoir ALP
The map shows the currently known distribution of Spotted Spreadwing in MTY, just two locations:  Hastings Nat. Hist. Reservation in upper Carmel Valley (4 specimens 1938-1942) and Arroyo Seco Lakes (various observations July-Oct). The species is likely widespread in the county, and should be looked for in reedy ponds anywhere.

The MTY date span is 26 May-14 Oct. This is pretty much the date span known from elsewhere in California, although there are some records elsewhere into November.

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 23 Feb 2007