10. Small Spreadwing  –  Lestes virens –  European Dragonfly photo

The Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens) can be confused with the Migrant Spreadwing – Lestes barbarus  which occupies much the same range within Europe. It often breeds in waters which become seasonally dry. In the south of its range it can be found from April onwards although further north the main flight period is from July to September. Numbers vary widely and the species can be scarce in large areas of Europe. It seems to be absent from the UK although apparently suitable habitat and a similar climate to where it is found on the Continent are available. Its typical breeding habitat is shallow pools situated within, or sheltered by, forests but having good sunlight. This is classically shown in the Andalucian Laguna below.

The male Small Spreadwings can be confusing as the first photo shows a bicoloured light brown and off white pterostigma which is similar to the Migrant Spreadwing – Lestes barbarus but this feature is confined to Iberia, elsewhere it it is all pale brown. The yellow at the back of the head is also found on the Migrant Spreadwing.  It is a smaller species than the Common Spreadwing – Lestes sponsa. There is pruinosity on Segments 9-10 and the lower appendages are short and not curved outwards as in the Migrant Spreadwing. Again, specific to the Iberian and North African populations, the pale antehumeral stripes are broader and longer than elsewhere.



La Laguna de El Picacho, Andalucia, Spain 8-0652 -700

La Laguna de El Picacho, Andalucia, Spain 8-0652 -700

 Lestes virens (in cop) Small Spreadwing D3 P9 -1- 700