Lestes barbarus - m - Migrant Spreadwing 8-1711 WP

09. Migrant Spreadwing – Lestes barbarus –  UK – European Dragonfly photo

The Migrant Spreadwing – Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus) is strongly migratory and has moved up through Europe over the last twenty years arriving in the UK over a decade ago in 2002. It has a wide range and it is unusual in that it regularly breeds at sites which can completely dry out, often in dunes near the sea-shore or in pits dug for road surfacing as shown in the habitat photo below. Due to this behaviour it may arrive in an area, breed in high numbers for quite a while, disappear and then re-appear in future years. Ovipositing occurs even when the habitat is completely dry with the eggs remaining to hatch when the site becomes we again in the following Spring.


When seen in the company of other Lestes species it does seem somewhat larger. Only the males of the Small Spreadwing – Lestes virens also have yellow on the rear underside of the head. The pterostigma is half brown, half pale yellow. ( Note – males of Lestes virens in parts of Iberia also have a twin coloured pterostigma but the lighter part is much smaller ) For myself the absence of any abdominal pruinescence and the whitish sides to Segments 9 and 10, combined with the white appendage,s are the best I/D features. The ante-humeral stripes are wide on both sexes

Pool near Pyrgos, Chios, Greece

Lestes barbarus - m - Migrant Spreadwing 8-1817 WP

Lestes barbarus - m - Migrant Spreadwing 8-1566 WP

Lestes barbarus - f - Migrant Spreadwing 3-6389 WP