Saturday, May 12, 2018

Amber-Winged Spreadwing Damselfly Habitats: Dark-Striped Yellow Thorax

Summary: North American amber-winged spreadwing damselfly habitats in the Great Plains east to Atlantic coastlines get amber-winged, black-striped yellow thoraxes.

amber-winged spreadwing damselfly (Lestes eurinus) along Cedar Trail, Rouge National Urban Park, Greater Toronto Area, Southern Ontario, east central Canada; June 5, 2012: Yankech gary (Gary Yankech), CC BY ND 2.0, via Flickr

North American amber-winged spreadwing damselfly habitats anticipate cultivators and naturalists with bio-geographies from Manitoba, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri and Tennessee into Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec through North Carolina.
Amber-winged spreadwings bear their common name as the only amber-winged pond or stream spreadwing damselfly and the scientific name Lestes eurinus (robber [from the] east wind). Common names consent to the consensus of scientific committees convened by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas concerning Latin America's and North America's damselflies and dragonflies. Scientific designations disclose descriptions in 1839 by Thomas Say (June 27, 787-Oct. 10, 1834), naturalist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and specialist in amphibians, insects and mollusk shells.
Amber-winged spreadwing damselfly lifespans expect permanent bog lakes and pasture ponds with emergent vegetation from the Great Plains eastward through the Midwest and into Atlantic coastlines.

May through September function as optimal, southernmost flight seasons even though June through August furnish wildlife mapping opportunities throughout all of the amber-winged spreadwing's habitat niches.
Fly-catching, long-spined, long legs give amber-winged spreadwing damselflies graspiest grips on flying insects, foraging perches and sleeping roosts within grassy, herbaceous, woody in-water and waterside vegetation. Amber-winged spreadwings hone the hunting sallies that all other pond spreadwings and all related stream spreadwings have of heading, from forage-friendly, hidden perches, after flying prey. Broad-wings, clubtails, dancers, most skimmers and spreadwings, darners, emeralds and glider and saddlebag skimmers and non-dancer pond damsels respectively impale invertebrates by sallying, hawking and gleaning.
Ants, assassin flies, biting midges, ducks, falcons, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, spiders, turtles and water beetles, bugs and mites jeopardize North American amber-winged spreadwing damselfly habitats.

Female and male amber-winged spreadwing damselflies keep to dull, faded, light, pale colors and low size ranges during the incomplete metamorphosis after egg-hatching and before egg-laying.
Amber-winged spreadwings live as egg-hatched, multi-molting larvae, naiads or nymphs until last molts into shiny-winged, soft-bodied, weak-flying tenerals before tandem mating atop grasses, sedge or shrubs. They manage fast, strong afternoon mating-related flights and ovipositing six- to seven-egg clusters atop burreed, cattail, rush or sedge stems or water-lily leaves or under water-plantain. Pond spreadwing members of the Calopterygidae broad-winged family need aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, copepods, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms.
North American amber-winged spreadwing damselfly habitats offer season-coldest temperatures, northward to southward, from minus 45 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42.77 to minus 12.22 degrees Celsius).

Beech, bellflower, birch, bladderwort, cattail, daisy, grass, greenbrier, heath, laurel, madder, maple, nettle, olive, pepperbush, pine, pondweed, rush, sedge, water-lily and willow families promote amber-winged spreadwings.
Age-frosted, metallic-green thoracic fronts, blue-topped, yellow-bottomed eyes, irregularly dark-striped yellow lower and undersides wax-blooming and white-powdering with age and metallic dark-green abdomens quicken adult female identifications. Adult amber-winged males reveal age-frosted, metallic-green thoracic fronts, age-powdered, shiny green-black abdomens, age-whitened, irregularly dark-striped, yellow lower sides and underparts and brightly blue-topped, palely blue-bottomed eyes. Adults show off 1.65- to 1.83-inch (42- to 46.5-millimeter) head-body lengths, 1.28- to 1.46-inch (32.5- to 37-millimeter) abdomens and 1.02- to 1.18-inch (26- to 30-millimeter) hindwings.
Absence of amber wings and of dark-striped, bright yellow thoraxes tells on other pond and related stream spreadwings in overlapping North American amber-winged spreadwing damselfly habitats.

amber-winged spreadwing (Lestes eurinus); photo by Jonathan White: FotoPhysis @Fotophysis via Twitter April 17, 2016

My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
amber-winged spreadwing damselfly (Lestes eurinus) along Cedar Trail, Rouge National Urban Park, Greater Toronto Area, Southern Ontario, east central Canada; June 5, 2012: Yankech gary (Gary Yankech), CC BY ND 2.0, via Flickr @
amber-winged spreadwing (Lestes eurinus); photo by Jonathan White: FotoPhysis @Fotophysis via Twitter April 17, 2016, @

For further information:
Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Princeton NJ; Oxford UK: Princeton University Press, 2005.
Beaton, Giff. Dragonflies & Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. Athens GA; London UK: University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Berger, Cynthia. Dragonflies. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books: Wild Guide, 2004.
Bright, Ethan. "Lestes eurinus Say, 1839: 36 -- Amber-winged Spreadwing." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera, Selys, 1854 - Dragonflies > Coenagrionidae, Kirby, 1890 (Pond Damselflies) > Lestidae, Calvert 1901 (Spreadwings) > Lestes.
Available @
FotoPhysis @Fotophysis. "Amber-winged Spreadwing,Lestes eurinus." Twitter. April 17, 2016.
Available @
"Lestes eurinus." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Lestidae > Lestes.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.
Say, Thomas. "Descriptions of New North American Neuropterous Insects, and Observations on Some Already Described: 3. Lestes eurinus." Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. VIII, part I: 36-37. Philadelphia PA: Merrihew and Thompson, 1839.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @
Available via HathiTrust @

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