The Dragonflies (Insecta: Odonata)
of the Columbia Basin, British Columbia:
Field Surveys, Collections Development and Public Education

Table of Contents

Lestes forcipatus Rambur*
Sweetflag Spreadwing

Provincial Status
  • CDC rank: S1S3

  • Red List

  • Although only discovered in the province during this project in 1998, Lestes forcipatus has since been found in many areas in southeastern British Columbia.

    Columbia-Kootenay Distribution
    L. forcipatus is known from 16 localities in the Columbia Basin, from the Bluewater Creek area north of Donald, to Bonanza Pass west of Castlegar. When found, it was always the least dominant Lestes species at the locality. L. forcipatus is certainly more widespread than records suggest, as it has apparently been confused with the much more common and abundant L. disjunctus, which it closely resembles. L. forcipatus is unusual in odonates in that the female is more easily identified than the male. Males are so similar to those of L. disjunctus that unless a female is collected, the species may be overlooked.

    Global Distribution
    Lestes forcipatus is a widespread eastern North American species that was recently collected in Washington, this for the first time west of Montana (Paulson 1997). In Canada it had not been confirmed west of Saskatchewan (Westfall and May 1996) until it was recognized in 1998, when during these surveys it was discovered north of Golden. In 1999 we discovered several more locations farther south and west. In 2000, an unidentified specimen that had been collected in Wells Gray Provincial Park in the mid-1980s was identified as L. forcipatus. In Washington it has been collected in Okanogan, Kitsap and Clark counties. Faunal element: Austral (see Appendix 2).

    Biological Information
    Walker (1953) described L. forcipatus habitat as "ponds, both temporary and permanent, marshy lakes, and slow, weedy streams". In the Kootenay region we found this species in marshes and Carex fens. Specific information on its biology, range and flight dates has been confounded by misidentification, as noted above. In British Columbia (and Columbia Basin) adult records have been confirmed from 24 June to 29 August (present study). The North American dates are 4 April to 21 October (Mauffray and Beckenbach 2000).

    Management and Protection Considerations
    The habitats that L. forcipatus was found in were not particularly specialized or threatened. They are in lower-lying wetlands where there is always the risk of draining, development or pollution. The habitat descriptions from other areas include temporary as well as permanent ponds, which makes one think that this species may be relatively tolerant of some disturbance. Management practices that ensure the continued viability of wetlands should be followed.


    Living Landscapes