Lestes inaequalis

Elegant Spreadwing

Lestes inaequalis, Elegant Spreadwing, lateral view

Family: Lestidae

Length: 45-58 mm


You're not likely to miss seeing an Elegant Spreadwing, with its great length and beautiful metallic green coloration.

The back of the head is yellow (best seen in the second photo on this page). The upper thorax is mostly metallic green, but a dark shoulder stripe is present, typically narrow in the male and wider in the female.

In this species it is child's play to separate the two sexes. The males have a prominent round set of claspers at the tip of the abdomen, while the females have a large ovipositor on the ventral side of the rear of the abdomen.

Lestes inaequalis, Elegant SpreadwingIn both sexes, the tibiae are pale.

Lestes inaequalis is on the wing from late May to late August in West Virginia. Look for it in wetlands, ponds, or even along slow-moving creeks. While not rare in West Virginia, Lestes inaequalis is seen considerably less often than several other spreadwings, such as Lestes rectangularis and Lestes congener.

Insects of West Virginia