Cryptic Spreadwing. Kriptiese Spanvlerkie.
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Male. Old Male Old Female. Female
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Cryptic Spreadwing, Lestes dissimulans, Genus Lestes, Family Lestidae medium-sized greyish blue, speckled with bright blue eyes above and greyish below.
Key identification features:
- Highly variable in colour varying from brown to grey blue.
- Greyish blue thorax has small dark spots on the sides and ornamental markings on the dorsal thorax. With age the dorsal thorax marking will pruinose to a greyish brown rendering the marking invisible.
- Abdominal segments 9 -10 are fully covered by a light blue or whitish pruinosity.
- Pterostigmas dark brown with fine pale borders, longer than 1 mm.
- Superior appendages are black. Upper clasper has a single blunt tooth close to the base.
- Greenish brown with similar dark spots as the male
Compared with other species:
- L. tridens, Spotted Spreadwing, is also speckled but has whitish appendages and three teeth on the inside of each upper clasper. Also the pterostigmas of the L. dissimilis are longer (>1 mm.) The pterostigmas of L. tridens is <1mm.
Distribution and habitat:
- Savanna species from the northern parts of South Africa and KZN. New records now indicate stable populations in Gauteng, Eastern parts of NWP and LP.
- Frequents shallow seasonal ponds, pools and swamps with abundance of grass and sedge in hot savanna.
- Hangs with wings outstretched from grass stems and rushes over water. Breeds in the stems of sedge. Strong flyer