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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) | Lestidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Lestidae

Descriptive Features:

  • premental ligula with well developed median cleft
  • 7-8 pairs of premental setae
  • 3 large palpal setae, 2 of them on moveable hook
  • postocular lobes very widely rounded
  • lateral spines on some abdominal segments
  • caudal gills held vertically, flat, long and narrow denodate, with apex rounded
  • gill tracheoles almost at right angle to mid-tracheal vein
  • Total length: 21.0 - 31.5 mm
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera

    Distribution: Australia wide

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 1, Austrolestes annulosus tolerates saline lakes.

    Functional Feeding Group: predators

    Ecology: Adults are commonly known as 'spreadwings or reedlings'.
    Instream habitat: Lestid nymphs occur in still and sluggish waters such as riverine pools, lakes, swamps, ponds and alpine bogs, including temporary ponds. They are generally associated with vegetation and organic detritus on mud. Austrolestes minjerriba is currently known only from brown, acidic coastal dune lakes and swamps. Indolestes obiri inhabits shallow caves and overhangs along the Arnhem Land escarpment.
    Feeding ecology: Nymphs are predators.
    Life history: Lestidae species breed in still water. Some females will immerse themselves totally while laying eggs on water plants, even if the male is still guarding the female from other males, then both adults will submerge. Lestid adults can remain submerged for around fifteen minutes but sometimes perish underwater after laying the eggs. The egg phase is generally the over wintering stage, in colder climates, however Austrolestes leda overwinters as an adult. The larval phase lasts for eight weeks in temperate regions but is shorter in tropical regions. The final instar larvae leave the water for the adults to emerge, generally on plant stems. The exuviae are left clinging to the stem when the adult flies away. Adults may live for nine months or even more. Emergence is typically in late summer.
    Information Sources: Hawking & Theischinger 1999, Houston 1988, Sant & New 1988, Silsby 2001, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Theischinger & Hawking 2006
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