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

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Related Species in COENAGRIONIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 1

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Sphagnum Sprite (Nehalennia gracilis) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Southern Sprite  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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map
Click on county for list of all its records for Sphagnum Sprite
flight charts
distribution Primarily the southern Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills region, as well as the southern mountains. Otherwise, widely scattered over the state, though mainly in the southern part of the state. There are no records yet for the northern half of the mountains, nearly all of the Piedmont, and nearly all of the northern Coastal Plain. A photo from Tyrrell County in 2014 filled in a large gap in the range in the eastern part of the state; and a photo from Buncombe County -- taken in 2011 but not posted on iNaturalist until 2020 -- "moved" the mountain range slightly northward.
abundance Oddly geographically bimodal, being more numerous in the Coastal Plain and the southern mountains than in the Piedmont. Uncommon to fairly common (at least locally) in the Sandhills and in the southern mountains. Very rare to rare elsewhere, mainly in the southern Coastal Plain east of the Sandhills.
flight The Coastal Plain records fall from early May to late September, whereas those from the mountains are from early June to late August. The very few (three) records from the Piedmont are confined from early June to early July, though certainly the flight is much wider than this. Most of the flight is finished by the end of July.
habitat Typically where sphagnum moss is present around seeps and other boggy spots, such as some pond margins.
behavior
comments Because of the sparse array of county records across much of the state, range maps in reference books tend to incorrectly show all of NC within the range of the species, which is more common in states to our north than to our south. Though not one of our rarest damselflies, it is one of our rarest away from its Sandhills stronghold. As it is not on the N.C. Natural Heritage Program's Watch List, that fact and its locally numerous status suggest that the State Rank should be moved from the current S2S3 to a less scarce S3.
state_status
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 2021-08-04 15:53:16

Photo Gallery for Sphagnum Sprite   15 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Ken Kneidel

Comment: Scotland, 2020-05-12 - edge of Scotland Lake, male
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields, John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-26, Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest - in bog. First record for county.
Photo 3 by: Mike Turner, Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-07, Sandhill Game Land; Scotland Lake - adult males
Photo 4 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-06-16, Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point
Photo 5 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Brunswick, 2016-06-16, Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point
Photo 6 by: John Petranka

Comment: Moore; C, 2016-06-10, Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. James Creek along Gum Swamp Trail
Photo 7 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Tyrrell, 2014-06-04, Private property north of US 64
Photo 8 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Tyrrell, 2014-05-21, Private property north of US 64 - mating pair
Photo 9 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Tyrrell, 2014-05-18, Palmetto-Peartree Preserve
Photo 10 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Tulula Bog - Male & Female
Photo 11 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Tulula Bog - Male & Female
Photo 12 by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Ed Corey

Comment: Bladen, 2013-06-04, seen at Baytree State Park
Photo 13 by: Steve Hall

Comment: Montgomery, 2011-06-23, Observed at margin of Roberdo Bog, Uwharrie National Forest
Photo 14 by: Diana and Terry Hibbitts

Comment: Buncombe, 2011-06-03, Lake Powhatan. Originally posted on iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2697432 - Male
Photo 15 by: Randy Emmitt

Comment: Scotland, 2007-06-16, Sandhills Game Land, mated pair