Calvert County Damselflies & Dragonflies: Part 16 – Damselflies of the Family Lestidae

Family: Lestidae (Spreadwings)

In the Richard Orr Maryland database, there are eleven Spreadwing damselfly species listed for the state. Only five of those species are listed as present in at least one the three southern Maryland counties.

The iNaturalist observation database for the Spreadwing damselflies in the southern Maryland counties is quite sparse. Only two species are recorded from a total of only five observations: Calvert County has a single observation for a Slender Spreadwings, St. Marys County has zero observations, and Charles County has four observations in total from two species (Slender x 3, Great x 1).

Listed below are the species within this group that have been observed in at least one of the southern Maryland counties and a comparison of the two databases is made (as of March, 2020). As was done with the previous family, I have included notes extracted from the book “Natural History of DelMarVa Dragonflies and Damselflies” by Hal White (reference 1). Of particular relevance for Calvert County, I have also included information on the four species of Spreadwing that were observed at the Cove Point LNG Property and reported in “2011-2012 Survey of the Dragonflies and Damseflies (Odonata) of the Cove Point LNG Property (Calvert County, Maryland” by Richard Orr (reference 2).

Great Spreadwings/Archilestes grandis
The Great Spreadwings is the largest damselfly found in the northeastern US and is a little over two inches in length. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/11-Sept to 30-Sept. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0​ St. Marys = 0 Charles = 1 (May)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – X ​ Charles - X

Southern (Common) Spreadwings/Lestes australis
DNA analysis seems to indicate that the Southern Spreadwings and the Common Spreadwings are subspecies of the Sweetflag Spreadwings. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – common/23-Apr to 30-Sept. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present Charles - present

Elegant Spreadwings/Lestes inaequalis
The Elegant Spreadwings is one of the larger Spreadwings damselflies in our area. It prefers shallow ponds with plenty of emergent vegetation. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/16-Jun. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0​ Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr): ​Calvert – present St. Marys – X Charles - present

Slender Spreadwings/Lestes rectangularis
In contrast to butterflies and moths, damselflies and dragonflies do not emerge from a pupa. Rather the larvae will climb out of the water onto a secure perch and transform into an air-breathing adult in its final molt. (1)
Cove Point adult abundance and flight period – rare/19-May to 29-Aug. (2)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 1 (Jun) St. Marys = 0 Charles = 3 (Jun-Aug)
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

Swamp Spreadwings/Lestes vigilax
Damselfly larvae have long slender bodies with three flat paddles known as caudal gills attached to the end of the abdomen. In addition to being highly vascularized to exchange oxygen, the gills also function like a fish’s tail for mobility. (1)
iNaturalist research grade observations:​ Calvert = 0 St. Marys = 0 Charles = 0
MD Biodiversity (i.e., Richard Orr):​ Calvert – present St. Marys – present​ Charles - present

Publicado por rosalie-rick rosalie-rick, 27 de marzo de 2020

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