118 000 Lestes uncifer Sickle Spreadwing11 1 101 056 Lestes uncifer Sickle Spreadwing Female Poplin Ranch LP January 2014 1 118 002 Lestes uncifer Sickle Spreadwing11 3 

Sickle Spreadwing.        Sekelspanvlerkiel. 

Family Lestidae Calvert, 1901 True Spreadwings

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Short description:

Medium sized to fairly large, greenish turquoise, with irregular blackish mottling, and large, whitish curved appendages.

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 (s1) 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:
  • Localized 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 sedges 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:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=3&spp=660370 Books:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa
...p 50
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa...p 64
Dragonfly Biotic Index...p 56
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern
Africa..p. 172

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
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram
Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly,  Damselfly
Map of South Africa

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



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