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. 

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

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

This is a male Southern Spreadwing. Males of this species are nearly indistinguishable from male Sweetflag Spreadwings in photographs. You need to find a female to identify them. Female Sweetflags have larger ovipositors than female Southerns. Cox Arboretum has both species living in the same pond. (Note that Northern Spreadwings also look extremely similar, but Northern Spreadwings are not known to occur in our part of Ohio.) 

This is a female Sweetflag Spreadwing, photographed at Cox Arboretum. 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.

Slender Spreadwings are  widespread. They are probably one of the most common spreadwings in our area, and they seem to live in the widest range of habitats. 

Another female Slender Spreadwing. This species flies from late May through September. 

Here is a view of the side of the thorax. For most spreadwings, the side of the thorax is important in species identification. But with Slender Spreadwings, I always hone in on the white wingtips. 

Mated pair of Sweetflag Spreadwings at Cox Arboretum. I have also found this species at Beavercreek Wildlife Area. 

Slender Spreadwings can be found at Fairborn Marsh, Beavercreek Wildlife Area, Caesar Creek, Buck Creek State Park, Creekside Reserve in Beavercreek, Cox Arboretum, Germantown MetroPark, and Spring Lakes Park.