Sweetflag Spreadwing, Lestes forcipatus

The sweetflag spreadwing (Lestes forcipatus) is a species of damselfly that can be found in North America. Its range includes areas of Canada, including Nova Scotia and Ontario, and many areas of the Unites States including Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington. This species can be found near permanent and temporary ponds, marshes, streams, and lakes with abundant vegetation.

The sweetflag spreadwing differs in appearance depending upon the sex, but both males and females hold transparent wings and a brown marking on the lower part of the thorax and both have eyes that are blue in color. Males have a black abdomen and thorax, with grey markings on the underside of the abdomen and blue grey or light tan stripes on the side of the thorax. Females are slightly thicker and are also black in color, with pale stripes occurring along the sides of the abdomen and a pale and brownish green abdomen. This species reaches an average length of up to two inches.

The sweetflag spreadwing can be seen between the months of May and November perching with its wings slightly open and abdomen lowered. It flies in and out of aquatic vegetation and plants found near the edges of water sources, consuming other species of insects.

Image Caption: Sweetflag Spreadwing (Lestes forcipatus) Montgomery County, Maryland. Credit: Mike Ostrowski/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)