Emerald Spreadwing Damselfly – Lestes dryas

Emerald Spreadwing Damselfly – Lestes dryas
Order Odonata / Suborder Zygoptera
/ Family Lestidae — spread-winged damselflies
Live adult damselflies photographed at DuPage County, Illinois. Size: 35 – 40mm

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The emerald spreadwing is easily recognized by its bright neon green color atop the abdomen, thorax, and head. Thorax shows three gold to yellow longitudinal stripes, the same color as the abdomen below. I consider this one of the larger damselflies, more "meaty" so to speak than other more ethereal odonates.  They are relatively abundant here, near Chicago – as long as there is clean water nearby.

As with the ebony jewelwing, this damsel shows its colors best in full sunlight. The metallic green is one awesome color in nature.

Identification: Dorsal surface of thorax and abdomen metallic green; sides of body yellowish; abdomen relatively short and stout for a spreadwing; paraprocts do not extend beyond cerci.
Range: Most of North America except southeastern states; also occurs in Eurasia.
Habitat: Shady, quiet waters: woodland pools, especially temporary ones, and marshes.
Season: June and July
Life Cycle: Female oviposits in tandem in emergent vegetation.
See Also: Elegant Spreadwing (Lestes inaequalis) which is larger (55-60 mm), more slender, and paraprocts extend beyond cerci. [1]

Emerald Spreadwing - Lestes dryas


  1. Robin McLeod, cotinis, Ted Kropiewnicki, Bugguide.net Emerald Spreadwing, Lestes dryas
Order Odonata: dragonflies and damselflies date back 300 million years, to the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era. These colorful, enchanting insects are revered second only to the butterflies in the popular psyche. Explore detailed close-up photographs of live, adult dragonflies and damselflies photographed in the wild.
Insects | Odonata Index | Dragonflies | Damselflies | Bugs Index | Spiders