SLENDER, SOUTHERN, and sweetflag SPREADWINGS

This is a female Slender Spreadwing. Females also have the white veins on the wingtips. Females are not quite as long as the males.  

This is a full-body view of a Slender Spreadwing. Males have extremely long and thin abdomens. I have found this species from late May through September at Fairborn Marsh, Beavercreek Wildlife Area, Caesar Creek, Buck Creek State Park, Creekside Reserve in Beavercreek, and Spring Lakes Park. 

This is a Slender Spreadwing. Several members of the spreadwing family can be tricky to identify to species. The distinguishing characteristic with Slender Spreadwings is the white vein along the edge of each wingtip. 

I feel safe calling this one a male Southern Spreadwing, only because of the early date. Southern Spreadwings fly earlier in the year than Sweetflags. This male Southern Spreadwing was photographed on April 17, 2019, at Grant Park in Centerville. Sweetflags don't start flying until later in May. Both species fly until late in the year (my personal late sighting is October 22nd). 

This is either a Southern Spreadwing or a Sweetflag Spreadwing. Males of these two species are indistinguishable in photographs. You need to find a female to identify them (see below). Cox Arboretum has both species living in the same pond. (Note that Northern Spreadwings look extremely similar to Southerns, but Northern Spreadwings are not known to occur in our part of Ohio.) 

This is a female Sweetflag Spreadwing, photographed at Beavercreek Wildlife Area. We can tell she is a Sweetflag by looking at the tip of her abdomen. Female Sweetflags have a large ovipositor that extends beyond the abdomen tip. 

This is a close-up view of the female Sweetflag Spreadwing's large ovipositor.