The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Related Species in LESTIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 4

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Carolina Spreadwing (Lestes vidua) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Southern Spreadwing   Swamp Spreadwing  
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Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Carolina Spreadwing
flight charts
distribution Restricted to the southern Coastal Plain, north to Scotland, Hoke, Sampson, Onslow, and Carteret counties. However, as Paulson (2011) shows the range of this Southeastern species extending north to the Great Dismal Swamp, VA, area, it might occur elsewhere in the NC Coastal Plain north of the known range.
abundance Generally rare (or at least quite local) over the range in the state, but can be very locally abundant close to the coast. Found to be quite abundant at sites in New Hanover, Onslow, and Carteret counties in 2015 and 2016. Beaton (2007) also calls it "Rare to uncommon and local" in GA.
flight Beaton (2007) shows flight dates from mid-March to mid-November for GA, but adds: "Flight season is not fully understood, more readily found during April-May and September-October (especially fall) and largely absent during the middle of the season." Mark Shields has found the species to occur in all months of the year at single pond sites in Carteret and Onslow counties, even in the winter months. Very few other odonates can be seen throughout the year. In fact, the flight chart shows at least one record in each of the 36 time periods (each generally about 10 days) throughout the year!
habitat Edges of lakes and ponds, including temporary ponds. May also occur at freshwater marshes. Typically in fish-free waters.
behavior According to Beaton (2007), males are usually found over water, perching on plants, while females can be found along the shoreline away from open water.
comments This species clearly deserves some search efforts in North Carolina. Until 2015, it was one of the most poorly-known damselflies in the state, as evidenced by only 12 known records from just six counties prior to that year. As a result, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program elevated the species from its Watch List to its Rare List in Fall 2012. Thankfully, Mark Shields has found the species to be much less rare than previously thought, and in 2018 the species was moved back to the Watch List. He found the species at clusters of pond sites in Onslow and Carteret counties throughout the year from late 2015 to late 2016, with several triple digit counts! In addition, he found it common in fall 2016 to late 2017 at several ponds in New Hanover County. Andrew Rapp photographed one in Brunswick County in 2016, as well. In 2017, Mark Shields and Hunter Phillips slightly extended the range west to Scotland County; this is our first record from the Sandhills region. The population in Onslow County has declined greatly since 2018 when the primary site (a borrow pit) was allowed to fill with water, completely inundating the marshy habitat formerly used by this species.
state_status W
S_rank S3
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-11 14:59:40

Photo Gallery for Carolina Spreadwing   13 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2021-12-03, Carolina Beach State Park, limesink ponds. Photo of mature female.
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Scotland, 2021-05-01, 17 Frog Pond, Sandhills Game Land
Photo 3 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-15, 17 Frog Pond, Sandhills Game Land - First record for county
Photo 4 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-11-28, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest. Photo of mature female.
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2016-11-19, limesink ponds at Carolina Beach State Park - 37 lone males, 5 lone females, 2 pairs in tandem. Photo shows a teneral male.
Photo 6 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-11-18, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest - 101 single males, 1 single female , and 7 tandem/ovipositing pairs
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2016-11-16, Stones Creek Game Land - 51 males, 3 females, including 1 pair in tandem
Photo 8 by: Andrew Rapp

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-07-31, Ocean Isle Palms; photo on OdonataCentral
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-04-11, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest. Photo of immature female.
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2015-11-11, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2015-11-11, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2015-11-06, Stones Creek Game Land
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2015-08-06, Carolina Beach State Park - Pair in tandem, ovipositing at Lily Pond