Family Lestidae Calvert, 1901


About 150 species in nine genera occur worldwide, of which only one genus and about a tenth of the species are Afrotropical. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


This family shares the combination of (a) 2 Ax instead of 3 or more; (b) arculus halfway between base and node, or more distal; (c) quadrilateral without cross-veins with several other damselfly families but differs by (1) R4 and IR3 originate well proximal to subnode, rather than at the subnode; (2) median vein zigzags from point proximal to subnode; rather than being straighter; (3) most cross-veins not aligned with Px, venation appearing chaotic, many cells pentagonal. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Lestes virgatus (Burmeister, 1839). Male © Adolfo Cordero

Lestes pallidus Rambur, 1842. Male (pale) © Paul Schrijvershof

Lestes tridens McLachlan, 1895. Male © Jens Kipping

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.


  • Ris, F. (1921). The Odonata or Dragonflies of South Africa. Annals South African Museum, XVIII, 245-452. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1909). Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905-1906 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Yngve Sjöstedt. 14. Pseudoneuroptera. Odonata, 14: 1-52.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-25].