Damselflies (Zygoptera) of the Southwest
Page 2: Damselflies that are NOT in the Pond Damsel family
Spreadwings, Broadwings, and Shadowdamsels





Updated - Spring 2017
Dragonflies of California and the Greater Southwest
A Beginner's Guide - AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT - eGuide

Use on your Kindle, Tablet, Smartphone or computer - weightless!
Includes damselflies

by Kathy Biggs - Price $6.99

Buy through Amazon.com (Kindle app)

....


Dragonflies of North America,
A Color and Learn Book
with Activities

Kathy Biggs and Tim Manolis
(Does contain damselflies)
Click to

see more information about the book.

Published June 2007
For children, grandchildren & your inner child!

There is a Southwest Dragonfly Yahoo! discussion group: Click here to join it. SoWestOdes


Enter the on-line guide below
Click on image/word to be taken to that kind of Damselfly

This site is 100% privately maintained. If you've found it helpful, a donation to help keep in on the web would be appreciated, thanks! K. Biggs



Sketch of a damselfly
showing the body parts
by Barbara Chasteen

DAMSELFLIES - Zygoptera


Slender-bodied, generally smaller and more frail than dragonflies.
Most have an eyespot in back of each eye.
When perched, all four wings are usually held together alongside or sail-like over the abdomen.
Eyes set far apart on head, appear hammer headed.
Weak fliers, usually found not too far from water.
Males have a bump (genitalia) under their 2nd abdominal segment and four terminal abdominal appendages.
Females have a wide ovipositor on the underside at the end of their abdomen and only two terminal abdominal appendages.
Damselflies lay their eggs directly into vegetation.
The SW has 16 genera representing all 5 North American families:
1. Pond Damsels - Coenagrionidae [This takes you back to page 1]
2. Shadowdamsels - Platysticidae
3. Spreadwings - Lestidae
4. Broad-winged Damsels - Calopterygidae

Directions: Click on the image that looks the most like the damselfly you want to learn more about, or just scroll down the page to find the damselfly that looks the most like the one you'd like to find out more about.

Damselflies are arranged within family by predominant color within genus. There are 2 pages of damselfly images. Pond Damsels were on page 1. Damselflies in the other families are on this second page.

Use your back button to return to this page



Pond Damsels (Coenagrionidae)
This link returns you to Page 1 of the SW Damselflies
63 species
This is on this page, Page 2

Spreadwings (Lestidae)

11 species
This is on this page, Page 2

Shadowdamsels (Platysticidae)

Only one species This is on this page, Page 2
Only one species
This is on this page, Page 2
.
Broadwinged Damsels (Calopterygidae)

5 species



Scan by Ed Lam

Shadowdamsels: Platysticidae


sizes: medium, length 35 - 45 mm
males: long narrow abdomens
females: like male or tan
habitats: arid desert streams with riparian edges
behaviors: shy; active during cooler periods of day/weather; hide in crevises in banks of waterways.
SW flight period - July - Sept. only one species found in USA

Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male & female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images & video - AZ
multiple images - AZ/MX
Scans
male - AZ
female - AZ
Desert Shadowdamsel Palaemnema domina

size: medium, length 35 - 45 mm

male: very long narrow abdomen with pale rings; tips of clear wings don't extend beyond segment 6; no eyespots; blue prothotax; middle abdominal segments have small triangular streaks on side near front of each segment; segments 8-10 blue with lower black margin; similar to Kiowa Dancer but blue

female: like male or tan but less blue at tail tip; clear wings

habitat: arid desert streams

SW flight period: July 17 - September 21

behavior: shy; hides in dark areas such as small caves

SW distribution: AZ (rare)

Southwestern distribution map


Spreadwings are arranged within genus by similarity in markings.

Spreadwings - Lestidae


sizes: medium to large, slender; lengths: 30 - 62 mm
2 SW genera:
Pond Spreadwings - 11 SW species
Stream Spreadwings - 2 SW species
males: dark with blues, greens; blue eyes; pruinose pale area near tip; some show more extensive pruinosity
females: more stout; less colorful; not pruinose
habitats: ponds, marshes, streams, slow rivers
behaviors: often hold wings open when at rest, la stealth bombers; oviposit in plant tissue that is above water level
Pond Spreadwings, Lestes: found flying at still water sites summer through fall; patrol shoreline from emergent vegetation on which they rest; oviposit while in tandem into non-woody vegetation above the water level
Stream Spreadwings, Archilestes: moving water sites; SW's largest damselflies; tandem oviposit into woody vegetation such as bay, alder & willow branches overhanging creeks/small rivers (even when dry); late season flight

Image by Ray Bruun
teneral and exuvia
GENUS: Lestes Pond Spreadwings - 11 SW species

sizes: long and slender; 30 - 53 mm
description: usually earth-toned colors although one species has metallic green top of thorax
males: long slender abdomens with pruinose tips; blue eyes
females: usually patterned like males, but abdomen thicker with a noticable swelling at end
behavior: tend to hang perch with their wings opened in a delta position (like a jet plane);
however at night and when cold or teneral, they close their wings.
females oviposit while in tandem into non-woody vegetation above the water level, but can sometimes submerge to oviposit
nymph: long and skinny with long gills
habitat: still water (even temproary) esp. with grassy/reedy vegetation

Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male & pair - NM
pair - NM
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male side - CA
pair - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male - OR
Northern [formerly Common, species recently split] Spreadwing Lestes disjunctus disjunctus

size: medium, slender, length 30 - 40 mm

male: blue eyes; thorax becomes pruinose pale blue; first two and last two or three abdominal segment become pruinose gray-blue; other segments have dark/green sheen; lower appendages long & straight but may be held crossed or like a V (examine carefully with hand lens); black stigma

female: more stout; no pruinosity; ovipositor does NOT extend beyond end of abdomen

habitat: weedy ponds, streams

SW flight period: April 19 - November 21

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
multiple images - TX
female - OH
YouTube video of a mating pair - MO
nymph
Scans
male - LA
young male - LA
female - MS
Southern [formerly Common, species recently split] Spreadwing Lestes australis

size: medium, slender, length 36-46 mm

male: blue eyes; thorax becomes pruinose pale blue; first two and last two or three abdominal segment become pruinose gray-blue; other segments have dark/green sheen; lower appendages long & straight

female: more stout; no pruinosity; ovipositor does NOT extend beyond end of abdomen

similar species: compare by appendages to Northern Spreadwing which has darker color pattern, smaller size (33-40 mm ) and more strongly developed tooth on the cerci

habitat: Still or slow moving waters with moderate vegetation, both permanent or ephemeral ponds

SW flight period: May 4 - October 5

SW distribution: CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - CO
pair- CO
female - CO
male - OR
pair & male - OR
male - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images - NM
multiple images drawings
Scans
pair- OR
male - WA
female - WA
Sweetflag Spreadwing Lestes forcipatus

size: medium, slender, length 30 - 42 mm

male: very similar to Northern Spreadwing; blue eyes; thorax becomes pruinose pale blue; first two and last two or three abdominal segment become pruinose gray-blue; other segments have dark/green sheen; lower appendages long & straight but may be held crossed or like a V (examine carefully with hand lens); black stigma.

female: easier to tell from Common Spreadwing than male is - large distinctive ovipositor extends beyond end of abdomen

similar species: Extremely similar to Northern Spreadwing, esp. the males

habitat: sedge fens
behaviorlays eggs in stems of Sweetflag which is a kind of aquatic iris, hence the common name

SW flight period: July 18 - August 15

SW distribution: CO (rare)

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - TX
male - TX
male - TX
male - TX
males & females - TX
male appendages
YouTube movie of mating pair
Scans
male
female
Chalky Spreadwing Lestes sigma...new to SW 2013

size: medium, slender, length 34 - 45 mm

male: blue eyes & face; thorax become pruinose pale blue/gray; abdominal segments 1 & two-thirds of 2, and 8, 9 & often 10 become pruinose pale blue/gray; other segments metallic brown on top; bi-colored stigma is distinctive

female: can become pruinose at maturity; immature pale brown; bi-colored stigma

similar species: similar to Northern, Southern & Sweetflag Spreadwings, esp. the males. These lack bi-colored stigma.

habitat: shallow marshes & ponds with emergent vegetation, even ones that become dry sporadically.
behaviorlays eggs in stems of sedges & grasses at water's edge or where water will be.

SW flight period: September 5

SW distribution: AZ (rare, please report)

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
multiple images - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
pair - NM
pair & male - NM
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
female underside - NV
female underside - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images female - UT
multiple images female - UT
nymph
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - NV
Spotted Spreadwing Lestes congener

size: medium, slender, length 31 - 42 mm

male: blue eyes; thorax dark; first & last two abdominal segments pruinose gray-blue; other segments - dark or green sheen; short lower appendages <50% of uppers;
4 dark spots thorax underside, usually visible also in side view; dark brown stigma

female: more stout; less colorful

habitat: weedy ponds, streams

SW flight period: May 14 - December 12

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
pair- CO
male's appendages
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing Lestes unguiculatus

size: medium, slender, length 31 - 42 mm

male: blue eyes; thorax dark; first & last two abdominal segments pruinose gray-blue; other segments - dark or green sheen; lower appendages lyre-shaped; dark brown stigma

female: more stout; less colorful

habitat: weedy ponds, streams

SW flight period: June 4 - October 5

SW distribution: CA, CO, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
info - North East
multiple images - MN
female - OK
nymph
Scans
male
female
Slender Spreadwing Lestes rectangularis

size: medium/large, slender, length 42 - 53 mm

male: blue eyes and face; thorax dark with pale shoulder stripe, pale yellow below; abdomen entirely dark bronzy with NO PALE SPOT on 'tail'; lower appendages curve downward; long slender abdomen, almost twice the length of the wings, is distinctive among the Spreadwings

female: more stout; duller

habitat: slow waters including temporary and shaded ponds and marshes

SW flight period: June 4 - August 1

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
teneral female & males - NM
pair - NM
pair - NM
pair - NM
multiple images - TX
males - TX
male
Scans
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
Plateau Spreadwing Lestes alacer
[please note, photo of male in Common Dragonflies of the Southwest - 2004 is incorrect! - KB]

size: medium, slender, length 34 - 45 mm

male: broad dark stripe top of thorax, dark side stripe variable width; pale side stripe usually a blue tint & narrowing to a point at rear; abdomen slender, esp. middle segments; reduced dark markings abdomen top; segments 1 & 2, 8-10 become pruinose with age; lower appendages 75% of uppers

female: similar to male

habitat: grass-edged ponds, slow streams at low elevations

SW flight period: January 27 - November 10

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
female - CO
female - CO
pair - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
Emerald Spreadwing Lestes dryas

size: medium, slender, length 32 - 40 mm

male: top of thorax bright metallic green; sides of thorax blue; abdomen bright metallic green; first two and last two segments can show blue; appendages are long and broad at the end

female: stocky; less emerald

habitat: forested mountain areas

SW flight period: April 22- October 2

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
immature male - CA
female - CA
teneral female - CA
pair ovipositing - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
female - CA
females - CA
Black Spreadwing Lestes stultus

size: medium, slender, length 35 - 44 mm

male: very similar to Emerald Spreadwing except black not green coloration; bronzy thorax when immature; first two and last two segments can show pruinose blue; appendages are long and broad at the end

female: stocky

habitat: sloughs, ditches, ponds

SW flight period: March 27 - September 5

SW distribution: CA

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website

Image by Dave Biggs
GENUS: Archilestes Stream Spreadwings - 2 SW species

sizes: very long and slender; 42 - 62 mm
description: our largest damselflies; earth-toned colors
males: long slender abdomens with pruinose tips;beautiful blue eyes when mature; no pruinosity on thorax
females: usually patterned like males, but abdomen thicker with a noticable swelling at end
behavior: hang perch with wings opened in a delta position (like a jet plane);
however at night and when cold or teneral, they close their wings
females oviposit while in tandem into dry or even woody vegetation above the water level, even high above dry creekbeds
nymph: long and skinny with long gills
habitat: most often found at moving water esp. with overhanging willow, alder or bay tree branches

Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
pair ovipositing - CA
pairs ovipositing - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
California Spreadwing Archilestes californicus

size: medium/large, slender, length 42- 59 mm

male: long body brown &/or black with pruinose area near tip; 2 incomplete white stripes thorax sides; blue eyes & face; wings colorless, stigma from top usually pale; upper appendages semicircular and lower appendages can be seen from top view, lower are parallel; late season flier

female: less colorful brown tones

similar species: Great Spreadwing has complete pale thoratic stripe

habitat: streams with alders/willows

SW flight period: May 23 - February 17

SW distribution: AZ, CA, NV, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
appendages- AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images- AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
young male - CA
pairs ovipositing into Bay Tree branches - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male - CO
male - CO
female - CO
female - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
female - NM
male & pair - NV
nymph - TX
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male - USA
Great Spreadwing Archilestes grandis

size: large, slender, length 50 - 62 mm

male: long body gray with greenish sheen, pruinose area near tip; one continuous pale side stripe on thorax (yellow in mature); blue eyes & face; stigma usually dark; top appendages semicircular, lowers divergent and can't be seen from top view; North American's largest damselfly; late season flier

female: less colorful

similar species: California Spreadwing has incomplete pale thoratic stripe

habitat: streams with overhanging alders/willows/bay

SW flight period: March 21 - January 17

SW distribution: all southwestern states

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website

Broad-winged Damsels - Calopterygidae


sizes: medium to large, slender; lengths: 36 - 54 mm; 2 SW genera:
Jewelwings - 2 SW species
Rubyspots - 3 SW species
males: large for damselflies; colorful patches in wings
females: more stout; less colorful bodies and wings
habitats: streams, slow rivers, esp. with vegetation
behaviors: butterfly-like courtship &/or male display flights; perch horizontally, head down on vegetation, shoreline rocks
Jewelwings, Calopteryx: large broad wings with black wing coloration either at tip of or for entire wing; beautiful green and blue iridescent coloration on body changes with angle of viewing; long spindly legs; courtship displays
Rubyspots, Hetaerina: males have basal quarter to third of wings with beautiful red patches; thorax matures to red as seen through smoky glass or to dark with reddish iridescence; very long dark legs; males duel in display flights

Image by Ray Bruun
GENUS: Calopteryx Jewelwings - 2 SW species

sizes: medium; 43-54 mm
description: metallic blue-green bodies, all or some of wings black; long legs
males: beautiful metallic thorax and abdomen; long legs
females: like males, but abdomen thicker; wings with a pale stigma
behavior: males fly butterfly-like over water surface; often perch with head lower than abdomen
females oviposit while in tandem; sometimes the female even goes totally underwater
nymph: long and skinny with long gills
habitat: moving water

Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
pair in cop - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
immature female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
photos of behaviors - CA
pair in wheel - CA
male - NV
male - NV
nymph
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male - OR
male - USA
River Jewelwing Calopteryx aequabilis

size: medium, length 43 - 54 mm

male: jewel-like bright metallic green/blue thorax and abdomen; outer 1/3 of wings conspicuously dark

female: duller abdomen, pale tip; smoky wings have a contrasting pale pseudostigma; sometimes oviposit under water

habitat: fast waters of large wooded streams/rivers; larva live in root masses

behavior: males display for females over the water

SW flight period: May 6 - August 11

SW distribution: CA, CO, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male & pair - CO
female - CO
male - NY
multiple images - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images - MN
male - NJ
female - NJ
male - WI
female - WI
Scans
male - USA
female - USA
Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata

size: medium, length 39 - 57 mm

male: jewel-like bright metallic green/blue thorax and abdomen; wings all dark, including stigma

female: duller abdomen, pale tip; wings all pale brown, darker towards tips, conspicuous white pseudostigma

habitat: fast waters of large wooded streams/rivers; larva live in root masses

SW flight period: June 22 - September 1

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map

Image by Pierre Deviche
GENUS: Hetaerina Rubyspots - 3 SW species

sizes: medium; 36-51 mm
description: red near base of wings; long legs
males: beautiful red at wing base; long legs
females: like males, but abdomen thicker; wings with orange wash at leading edge
behavior: males hold territory at moving water sites; often perch with head lower than abdomen
females oviposit while in tandem; sometimes the female even goes totally underwater
nymph: long and skinny with long gills
habitat: moving water

Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
teneral female - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CO
female - CO
female - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
male & appendages - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
female - NV
female - NV
exuvia- NV
male - UT
multiple images male - UT
male - UT
multiple images female - UT
nymph
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
male - NM
male - UT
female - UT
American Rubyspot Hetaerina americana<

size: medium/large, length 36 - 51 mm

male: wings ruby red basal 1/3 to 1/2; thorax top blood red as if under black glass, pale side stripes; abdomen bronzy brown-green with thin rings; CA usually no stigma, other states pale stigma

female: less colorful; wings with orangish streak on leading edge, tips mostly clear, pale stigma (sometimes no stigma in CA)

similar species: very similar to Canyon Rubyspot, which has smoky edged wing-tips: here is a comparison site

behavior: males hold territory at moving water sites; often perch with head lower than abdomen & wings held together to one side of abdomen

habitat: open streams, rivers

SW flight period: January 10 - December 31

SW distribution: all Southwestern states

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos

male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
comparison shot Am. & Canyon females - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
pair - NM
male - UT
Scans
male - USA
female - USA
Canyon Rubyspot Hetaerina vulnerata

size: medium/large, length 36 - 49 mm

male: red at wing base usually less extensive than American Rubyspot's; smoky edge/wing-tip; no stigma; compare by appendages American - upper appendages 1-2 toothlike lobes inside at midpoint; Canyon lacks these lobes

female: less colorful; wing patches orangish, no stigma, smoky wing tips: here is a comparison site

behavior: males hold territory at moving water sites; usually don't hold wings together to one side of abdomen as Am.Rubyspots do

habitat: canopied streams, rivers

SW flight period: March 8 - November 20

SW distribution: AZ, NM, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - TX
male - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images, drawings
Scans
male top - TX
male side - TX
male side - TX
male - LA
female - LA
Smoky Rubyspot Hetaerina titia (this may be only historical and may no longer found in SW)

size: medium/large, length 37 - 51 mm

male: quite variable; wings mostly dark with red at base of forewing; abdomen mostly black, without rings

female: less colorful

behavior: males hold territory at moving water sites; usually don't hold wings together to one side of abdomen as Am.Rubyspots do

habitat: sandy-bottomed streams, rivers

SW flight period: June 6 - August 18

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map

Click here to return to the Page 1 of Damselflies page where the Pond Damsels are covered.


I'm glad you enjoy the dragonflies and damselflies too! THANK-YOU for visiting!!

Kathy Biggs, Azalea Creek Publishing
Email Kathy Biggs

This site is 100% privately maintained. If you've found it helpful, a donation to help keep in on the web would be very much appreciated, thanks! K. Biggs

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