Spreadwing Damselflies: Pictures and Identification

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Caliifornia spreadwing, part of the damselfly pictures guide

About twenty different spreadwing damselflies live in the United States, and they divided into two genera. The California spreadwing pictured at the top of the page is on of two species in the genus Archilestes.

Most damselfly enthusiasts rightly associate the genus Lestes with the spreadwings. Pictures and ranges for fourteen Lestes species are presented below. In total they point to the fact that like most dragonfly species, all of the spreadwings have only regional ranges.

Of course the presence of open wings at rest is the first clue for successful damselfly identification in the spreadwing category. A close up view of the color and pattern of the thorax is usually a sufficient second identification step.

Please press the green damselfly button for pictures and identification help covering additional damselfly genera.

Amber-winged spreadwing, damselfly identification
Amber-winged spreadwings range in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

Black spreadwing damselfly, damselfly identification
California and possibly Oregon host the Black spreadwing.

picture of a Chalky spreadwing damselfly
Chalky spreadwing damselflies are mostly a Neo-tropical species that appear in South Texas, Arizona.

picture of an Elegant spreadwing damselfly
Elegant spreadings are fairly common in the East.

picture of an Emerald spreadwing damselfly
Damselfly identification is made easy with Emerald spreadwings. Green abdomens and thorax jump out. They are fairly wide spread North and Mid Latitudes.

picture of a Lyre-tipped spreadwing damselfly
Look for the Lyre-tipped spreadwings in the same North and Mid Latitudes.

picture of a Northern spreadwing damselfly
The name Northern spreadwing suggests a northern species.

picture of a Plateau spreadwing damselfly
Plateau spreadwing damselflies are a Southwest species with spillover into some lower Midwest states.

picture of a Rainpool spreadwing damselfly
You have to travel all the way to South Texas to get a glimpse of the Rainpool spreadwing. It’s well worth the travel.

Slender spreadwing, damselfly identification
Slender spreadwings have a fairly large range over the East and Midwest United States.

Southern spreadwing, damselfly identification
Southern spreadwings can be found in the Southeast as well as Mid-Atlantic states.

picture of a Spotted spreadwing damselfly
Spotted spreadwings are widespread in West. They also can be found along the northern border states and a bit of the Northeast.

picture of a Swamp spreadwing damselfly
Swamp spreadwings live in the East.

picture of a Sweetflag spreadwing damselfly
Sweetflag spreadwings have the northern most range.