Southern- or Sweetflag Spreadwing?

I spotted a skittish spreadwing damselfly on 14 May 2016 during a photowalk around Enchanted Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area. I was able to shoot some photos of the spreadwing during a follow-up visit on 20 May 2016.

A male member of the Family Lestidae of damselflies (Spreadwings) spotted at Enchanted Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is either a Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis) or Sweetflag Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes forcipatus).

This individual is a member of the Family Lestidae of damselflies (Spreadwings): it is either a Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis) or Sweetflag Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes forcipatus). It is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages: Southern Spreadwing; Sweetflag Spreadwing.

A male member of the Family Lestidae of damselflies (Spreadwings) spotted at Enchanted Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is either a Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis) or Sweetflag Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes forcipatus).

According to Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast, “Male Southern and Sweetflag cannot be separated in the field.”

In my experience at Huntley Meadows Park, Southern Spreadwing is an early season (spring) species; Sweetflag Spreadwing is a late season (fall) species. In deference to Ed Lam’s expertise, I’ll go with the either/or classification rather than a somewhat speculative single species identification.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Southern- or Sweetflag Spreadwing?”

  1. Voltinism | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] have been observed at two other locations in Northern Virginia: males from a single brood were observed during Spring 2016 at Meadowood Recreation Area; males and females from a single brood were observed during Fall 2016 […]

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