Spreadwing Damselflies

There are 11 different spreadwing damselflies in Wisconsin. Besides the spreadwings there are another two families of damsels including the broad-winged which has 4 and the pond species that has 34.

Characteristics of Spreadwing Damselflies

Species in the damselfly families are similar to dragonflies but have slimmer bodies and normally hold their wings at the side of their bodies when at rest.

Species in the spreadwing family are mainly a metallic bronze or green and perch with the wings half spread.


Male spreadwing damselflies have blue eyes and terminal abdominal appendages (by end of tail) called claspers which help hold onto females during mating.


Female spreadwing damselflies are a little more difficult to identify because they lack blue eyes and are dull in color.

11 Spreadwing Damsels of Wisconsin

1.) Amber-winged Spreadwing


2.) Elegant Spreadwing

3.) Emerald Spreadwing


4.) Great Spreadwing

5.) Lyre-tipped Spreadwing


6.) Northern Spreadwing


Identification Books:

7.) Slender Spreadwing


8.) Spotted Spreadwing


Found July through mid-September.  The eyes are blue in males, while in females they are always brown. The abdomen is grey with bronze reflections, the last two segments of the abdomen are pale gray. The wings are clear and transparent.

9.) Southern Spreadwing

10.) Swamp Spreadwing

It is most commonly seen between May and October. Like other damselflies of the family Lestidae they hold their wings at about 45 degrees to the body when resting. 

11.) Sweetflag Spreadwing


The male has a black thorax with tan or bluish sides and with pale stripes across the shoulders. The abdomen is dark with a light gray tip. The body has a frosty coating. The female is thicker in build with a black body. Both sexes may have a light brown spot on the underside of the thorax.

You will find them near swamps, pond, and streams.

Additional Reads: Broad-winged Damselflies

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