Posts Tagged ‘Great Spreadwing’

Even from a distance it’s hard to miss the bright lapis blue eyes of a male Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis). Unlike many damselflies, which are tiny, this species, as its name suggests, is a big damselfly, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in length (50-62mm). According to Bugguide.net, though, the bright yellow”racing” stripe, which occurs on both males and females, is the most easily seen distinguishing identification feature for this species.

I had never even heard of this beauty until the 11th of October, when fellow dragonfly hunter Walter Sanford blogged about his discovery of one at Huntley Meadows Park on the 9th of October. I had no idea if this was the only member of the species at the park or how long it would hang around and didn’t hold much hope of seeing one of these damselflies myself.

I was shocked and pleased on the 20th of October when I spotted Walter and this damselfly. Walter graciously ceded to me the prime spot for taking a close-up shot. A week later I returned to the same location and the Great Spreadwing was gone.

In past years I didn’t pay much attention to the timing and location of various dragonflies and damselflies—they were either present or they weren’t. This summer and fall, however, I’ve been learning how important the specific habitat and the time of year are for certain species and the window of opportunity to observe them opens and closes pretty quickly.

Consequently, I consider myself very fortunate that I was able to capture this little portrait of the Great Spreadwing damselfly.


Great Spreadwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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