*** I think I saw this species today, but I was not able to photograph it or net it! Well, tomorrow is another day (and it is supposed to be a nice one!), so I have another chance...

Lyre-tipped Spreadwing, Leste onguiculé 

(Lestes unguiculatus)

Adult size: 31-38mm

Habitat/Status: An uncommon and local inhabitant in the region found mostly in small, open temporary or semi-permanent ponds such as old gravel pits and beaver ponds; also found occasionally in shallow bog pools and slow streams.

Typical flight period: In the Maritimes, flies mostly from early July until late September, sometimes into early October (dates June 10th NB October 10th NS).

ID hints: This rather smallish and quite colourful species is widespread but apparently uncommon and local. While this species is superficially similar to both the Northern and Sweetflag Spreadwings, the males of this species can be easily distinguished from the other two in the hand by the unique shape of its claspers. Indeed, the inner set of claspers closely resemble a lyre, which was a small harp used commonly in Roman times. In the proper field conditions, this feature can also be seen through a pair of good, close-focus binoculars. However, the females generally require careful inspection with a hand lens or microscope in order to distinguish them from those of the Northern Spreadwing. Note that many female Lyre-tipped Spreadwings have a pale surface on the back of the head, whereas most female Northerns are dark in that area.

For an excellent run-down on the female's ID features, check out THIS LINK by Tony Thomas

General Nature Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes: This species apparently likes open temporary ponds such as old gravel and sand pits, perhaps more so than the other spreadwing species. It apparently spends most of its time on the edge of such water bodies.

Most Spreadwing species in this region overwinter as eggs. The eggs are incredibly tough and can resist quite a bit of drying out and temperatures of at least -20 °C. The most resistant eggs in the genus Lestes apparently belong to the Spotted Spreadwing (seen in Volume 1), whose eggs are reputed to survive temperatures of – 33 °C. Naturally, if the pond where the eggs were laid is covered with snow, these temperatures are rarely reached in the plants where the eggs were laid, as snow is an excellent insulator.

 

Map locations for Lyre-tipped Spreadwing

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FYI ... Map locations added.

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