101 043 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Male Tzaneen LP October 2012  101 044 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Male Modimolle LP November 2013  101 042 Lestes plagiatus Highland Spreadwing Female Tzaneen LP October 2012 

Highland Spreadwing.    Gewone Spanvlerkie.

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Short Description:

Highland Spreadwing, Lestes plagiatus, Genus Lestes, Family Lestidae , fairly large sized (larger than most other Spreadwings in the region). Inconspicuous, greyish-blue with a distinctly striped thorax.

Key identification features:


  • Clear wings which never become yellowish.
  • Pterostigmas is uniformly dark brown.
  • Strongly light and dark brown striped thorax with narrow metallic green stripes.
  • Dark upper appendages long and curved down in side view.
  • Older species are dark greyish-blue with much pruinescence.


  • Thorax light brown with bronze stripes.
Compared with other species:
  • Another striped species is L pallidus, but is smaller and the thorax is very pale.
  • Thorax stripes never green. L. virgatus has yellowish wings.
  • The tips of the cerci are bent distinctly downwards, rather than towards each other, and the paraprocts are rounded without slender apical process.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Common and widespread across the eastern side of South Africa.
  • Frequents still-water habitats including fringes of dams, ponds, pools, slow flowing streams and rivers where there is emergent sedge and tall grass or reeds. From 0 to 2200 m above sea level, but mostly between 600 and 1700.
  • Hangs wings outstretched on tall grass stems and in full sunshine.
Further reading:
http://vmus.adu.org.za/vm_map_afr.php?&database=odonata&grid=2&outline=1&key=0&map=4&spp=%20660360 Books
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa
p. 44
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 62
Dragonfly Biotic Index  p. 54
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Eastern Africa    p. 26
Odonata Atlas of Africa - VMU Number 660360

The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species
Warwick Tarboton
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online



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