New York Natural Heritage Program
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing
Lestes unguiculatus Hagen, 1861
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Lyre-tipped spreadwing males have a dark metallic thorax with pale (blue-green or tan) shoulder stripes; sides become pruinose pale blue to white with age. The abdomen is metallic dark green to brown above. The abdominal tip often becomes pale gray with age (segments 9 and 10), pruinosity leaving a dark triangle on the top of segment 8. Males may be separated from other similar Lestes by the shape of their terminal appendages, of which the paraprocts are divergent and lyre-shaped. Females have a green thorax above with pale (tan, blue-green, or yellow) sides and pale shoulder stripes. Their abdomens are metallic brown or green above and pale below and the rear of their heads are pale (Nikula et al. 2003, Lam 2004, Paulson 2011).

Diet [-]
Lyre-tipped larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Lyre-tipped spreadwing adults have been found in New York from June through September. Larvae may be found in appropriate habitats year-round.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Lyre-tipped Spreadwing present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Sweetflag Spreadwing (Lestes forcipatus)
    Sweetflag Spreadwings are very similar, but males typically have a darker thorax and abdomen and their pruinosity does not form a dark triangle on abdominal segment 8 (Lam 2004).
  • Northern Spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus)
    Northern and Southern (Lestes australis) Spreadwings are very similar, but males typically have a darker thorax and abdomen and their pruinosity does not form a dark triangle on abdominal segment 8. Females are more slender than Lyre-tipped spreadwings and the rear of their heads are dark (Lam 2004).