Smoky Spreadwing, Lestes virgatus Rookspanvlerkie
Smoky Spreadwing, Lestes virgatus Rookspanvlerkie is fairly large, slender, dull metallic green, striped, and with distinctly smoky wings. The only metallic green spread wing.
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Key identification features:
- Face greyish green; labrum sky blue; cheeks and mandibles light greyish blue. Head dark metallic green with brown scalloping along back from above.
- Eyes bright blue above, light greyish blue below with dark flecks (diagnostic)
- Thorax distinctly striped, multi coloured,metallic green, yellowish brown and dark brown from above, sometimes with some distinct blue; sides greenish brown with light buff-coloured stripes; lightly pruinescent in lower half
- Wings distinctly smoky brown sometimes with pale indistinct blotches on tips. Pterostigma slight brown, surrounded by dark brown, becoming all dark brown with age.
- Abdomen is above dark metallic green with partial yellowish rings on S 2-7. Only S 9 pruinescent. S 10 and superior appendages blackish Superior appendages has large coarse teeth along the inner edge. Inferior appendages are pyramid shaped.
- Stouter than male, reddish and blackish brown, also with striped thorax; underside of thorax buff
- Wings less smoky than male’s.
- Highly seasonal species being highly localised in all the moist forested areas. It occurs at pools with tall grasses, herbs and an abundance of bushes, near trees or in forests; sometimes also found along shady streams. Populations tend to appear and disappear very readily as conditions change..
- From 0 to 2700 m above sea level, but mostly between 1200 and 1900. Mainly a highland species.
- Hangs with wings outstretched from grass stems. Lays eggs in the stems of sedge grass.
Compared with other species:
- Smoky Spreadwing, Lestes virgatus is the only metallic green Lestes (Spreadwing). It has smoky wings and blue eyes. The pterostigmas swollen and pale centred.
- Smoky Spreadwing, Lestes virgatus is found from S Cape eastwards through KZN to the northern parts of South Africa. New records indicate a presence in the higher altitude areas of LP an GP
Highly seasonal species being highly localised in all the moist forested areas.
- Angola; Botswana; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe;