E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Lestes dryas
Emerald Spreadwing
Family: Lestidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)

© Jeremy Gatten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #64038)

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Distribution of Lestes dryas in British Columbia.
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Source: (for the static map) RBCM and BCCDC 2004 ©
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information


The thorax top is metallic green. The end of the female's ovipositor reaches the tip of the abdomen. Length: ♂ 36 mm, ♀ 35 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., late May to mid September; Yukon, early July to late August.

Genus Description

Large damselflies, brown, black, metallic-green or bronze above, mostly pale below. As they age, parts of the body, including the tip of the abdomen in males, often become pruinose bluish white. Females lay eggs in tandem with males, usually in plants above the surface of the water. The larvae are long and slender with banded gills and an unusually elongated labium. Some species are adapted to temporary ponds; the eggs overwinter and the larvae grow rapidly after the basin fills with water in the winter or spring.


Family Description

A small but widely distributed family in B.C., containing only one genus here, Lestes, with five species. The common name comes from the characteristic posture of the adults - they usually perch with wings half-spread.
Field Notes

Usually the first spreadwing to emerge in the year. In the south, it is common in early summer, especially around small ponds and places that may dry up in summer. It is less common northwards and uncommon in the Yukon.


Widespread; also across nothern Eurasia. Throughout most of B.C., and in Yukon valleys north to the Porcupine River drainage.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-06-01 1:20:41 AM]
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