Lestes barbarus (Migrant Spreadwing/Southern Emerald Damselfly)

A new species for us in 2012. Our first was the teneral female below in La Brenne. As is often the case, we subsequently started spotting them in numerous locations. Once you’ve seen the noticeably broader antehumeral stripes (cf. other Lestes) and the bi-coloured pterostigmas, they are reasonably unmistakable.

These guys have been found at eastern coastal sites in the UK for the last couple of years as a probable migrant. Their breeding status seems uncertain in the UK, officially, but they’ve been spotted at the same site in Kent, at least, for a few years now so in my book they are now resident.

[I have a comparison chart showing the distinguishing features of our four emerald damselfly/spreadwing species.]

Id Notes

  • metallic green head, thorax and abdomen
  • pale brown, bi-coloured pterostigma (when mature)
  • wide antehumeral stripes
  • yellow-ish jowels (behind eyes and underside of head)
  • no ‘spur’ to green markings on side of thorax
  • ♂ – short lower appendages flared at tips

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