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.

(Karsch, 1899)

Link to our photo gallery
Photos in nature.

Short description:

Lestes uncifer, Sickle SpreadwingGenus Lestes, Family Lestidae is 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.
Credit for this description to Michael J. Samways and John P. Simaika

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:

L. uncifer New
 Distribution Map

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


Right Click

Copyrighted material - contact us if you want to buy a photo