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
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.

Family Lestidae    (Calvert, 1901)
More images:

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:
  • 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.
Compared with other species:
Distribution Map June 2020 Map








South Africa:

  • From E Cape to the northern parts of South Africa and the coastal plains of KZN, eastern Mpumalanga and LP. 


Angola; Botswana; Côte d'Ivoire; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gabon; Kenya; Liberia; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Somalia; Tanzania; Togo; Zambia; Zimbabwe;

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