Spotted Spreadwing      Lestes tridens      Gevlekte Spanvlerkie

101 061  Pair Tshipise LP March 2014 1
101 060 Lestes tridens Spotted Spreadwing Female Tshipise LP March 2014 1
 Lestes tridens Spotted Spreadwing Pair Tshipise LP February 2014
Family Lestidae    (Calvert, 1901)
Short Description:

Spotted Spreadwing, Lestes tridens Gevlekte Spanvlerkie is small to medium sized, greyish green to greyish blue, with dark grey elongated spots and speckles and a distinctive wavy oak leaf pattern on the top of the thorax Very similar to Cryptic Spreadwing, L. dissimulans.

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101 062 Pair Tshipise LP March 2014 1Image Gallery










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Key identification features:


  • Thorax is greyish green to greyish blue with dark elongated spots and speckles with wavy 'oak leaf' dorsal band on the thorax.
  • Pterostigmas is dark greyish brown and shorter.
  • Less blue on the terminal segments Superior appendages are distinctly whitish with black bases and tips.
  • There are three teeth on the inside of each upper clasper. Upper clasper has a single blunt tooth close to the base.


  • Light brown has similar dark brown spots on the thorax.
Compared with other species:
Distribution and habitat

Lestes tridens Spotted Spreadwing Distribuion Map May 2020From E Cape to the northern parts of South Africa and the coastal plains of KZN, eastern Mpumalanga and LP. 
Preferred habitat is grassy and bushy margins of pools, dams, swamps, lake shores, and waterholes,
usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation.
From 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 600.

  • Hangs with wings outstretched inactively on grass stems or twigs over water. Female often with male.
Further reading:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species       Least concern.
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 660330
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online



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