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Dragonflies & Damselflies Highland Spreadwing - Dragonflies & Damselflies

Highland Spreadwing.    Lestes plagiatus    Gewone Spanvlerkie.

101 043 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Male Tzaneen LP October 2012

100 347 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Male Rust De Winter LP RSA Sept 2017

100 352 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Female Ezemvelo GP RSA Nov 2018r 2

Highland Spreadwing.    Gewone Spanvlerkie.

Family Lestidae        (Calvert, 1901)
More Image:

100 348 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Young Male Kimiad GP RSA Dec 2016r 2 Images

101 039 Lestes plagiatus Highland Speadwing Male Tshipise LP December 2012 Male









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Short description

Fairly large sized (larger than most other Spreadwings in the region). Inconspicuous, greyish-blue with a distinctly striped thorax.

Key identification features:


  • Clear wings which never become yellowish.
  • Pterostigmas is uniformly dark brown.
  • Strongly light and dark brown striped thorax with narrow metallic green stripes.
  • Dark upper appendages long and curved down in side view.
  • Older species are dark greyish-blue with much pruinescence.


  • Thorax light brown with bronze stripes.
Compared with other species:
  • Another striped species is L pallidus, but is smaller and the thorax is very pale.
  • Thorax stripes never green. L. virgatus has yellowish wings.
  • The tips of the cerci are bent distinctly downwards, rather than towards each other, and the paraprocts are rounded without slender apical process.
Distribution and habitat:

Common and widespread across the eastern side of South Africa.
Frequents still-water habitats including fringes of dams, ponds, pools, slow flowing streams and
rivers where there is emergent sedge and tall grass or reeds.
From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly between 600 and 1700.

  • Hangs wings outstretched on tall grass stems and in full sunshine.
>Further reading:

Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 660360
The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa


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