Sickle Spreadwing, Lestes uncifer Sekelspanvlerkiel. 

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101 056 Lestes uncifer Sickle Spreadwing Female Poplin Ranch LP January 2014 1
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Family Lestidae     (Calvert, 1901)  True Spreadwings
Short description:

Sickle Spreadwing, Lestes uncifer Sekelspanvlerkiel is medium sized to fairly large, greenish turquoise, with irregular blackish mottling, and large, whitish curved appendages.

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118 001 Lestes uncifer Sickle Spreadwing11 2Images

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Key identification features:


  • Face is bright greenish blue. Postclypeus has a  black basal line. Head is black with pale green and pale brown blotches when seen from above.
  • Eyes are pale blue above and pale green below. Neck is blotchy black, brown, green and greenish blue.
  • Thorax is dark green above with irregular pale green and greenish blue blotches; sides yellowish green to opal and pale turquoise with irregular blackish spots.
  • Wings clear, becoming slightly smoky with age. Pterostigmas is blackish, short and almost rectangular.
  • Abdominal segment 1 is light green with black margin and two small black dots. Segment 2 light green has a blackish dorsal patch. Segments 3 to 7 are greyish green with dark brown dorsal band, broken by fine yellow rings. Segments 8 to 10 are black. Appendages long and curved inwards and downwards distinctly whitish with black bases.


  • Females are pale brown with dark brown thoracic spots. The abdomen is dull green with brown longitudinal stripe.
Compared with other species:
  • The green colour and thorax markings make this species easy separate from other Spreadwing species.
  • Characteristic is the sickle-shaped, whitish appendages that are relatively flat and pale cerci, with the tips of cerci bent distinctly downwards, rather than towards each other.
Distribution and habitat: in Northern KZN and MP Lowveld. More demographic data required to establish the true range of the species. 
Its preferred habitat is margins of pools with tall grasses and sedge next to thick bush or forest,
also occurring around murky waterholes with adjacent bushes.

  • It hangs from tall stems over water, but retreats into bushes when disturbed.
Further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species       Data Deficient
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660370

Credit for this description to Michael J. Samways and John P. Simaika




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