Lestes tridens McLachlan, 1895
Spotted Spreadwing

Type locality: Delagoa Bay (= Maputo), Mozambique


Males of this species are nearest L. dissimulans in general appearance but structurally nearer L. ochraceus by (a) thorax uniformly pale to dark, marked black, or dark markings irregular with at most slight bronze sheen; (b) tips of cerci pointing towards each other, like pair of pliers or forceps (dorsal view); (c) paraprocts with slender, finger-like apical process. However, differs by (1) venter of thorax pale with pattern of black spots or bands, rather than uniformly pale; (2) Pt shorter, about 1.0 mm, rather than elongated; (3) tooth posterior to basal tooth of cerci more prominent, almost as much as basal tooth itself; (4) process of paraproct with tuft of long hairs, instead of short scattered hairs. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Habitat description

Standing and often temporary waters in open landscapes, but sometimes shaded by gallery forest. Usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation. From 0 to 1800 m above sea level, but mostly below 600.


confirmed: Angola; Botswana; Côte d'Ivoire; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Gabon; Kenya; Liberia; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Republic of South Africa; Somalia; Tanzania; Togo; Zambia; Zimbabwe; NOT confirmed: Guinee-Bissau; Malawi

Male © Jens Kipping

Appendages (dorsal view)

Appendages (lateral view)

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.

Barcode specimen(s):

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, Upemba National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga, Upemba National Park © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.

Male; Liberia, Nimba County, © Dijkstra, K.-D.B.


  • McLachlan, R. (1895). Some new species of Odonata of the Légion Lestes, with notes. Annals Magazine Natural History Series 6, 19-28.
  • Pinhey , E. (1980). A revision of African Lestidae (Odonata). Occasional Papers of the National Museums & Monuments of Rhodesia. Natural Sciences, 6, 1-479. [PDF file]
  • Sjöstedt, Y. (1917). Odonaten aus Abessinien, Ost- und Westafrika. Arkiv Zoologi, 11, 1-27.
  • Balinsky, B.I. (1961). Observations on the dragonfly fauna of the coastal region of Zululand, with descriptions of three new species (Odonata). Journal Entomological Society Southern Africa, 24, 72-91. [PDF file]
  • Pinhey, E.C.G. (1961). Dragonflies (Odonata) of Central Africa. Occasional Papers Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, 14, 1-97. [PDF file]
  • Schouteden, H. (1934). Annales Musee Congo belge Zoologie 3 Section 2, 3, 1-84. [PDF file]

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. http://addo.adu.org.za/ [2024-06-23].