View the above photo record (by John Wilkinson) in OdonataMAP here.
Find the Sickle Spreadwing in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.
Lestes uncifer – SICKLE SPREADWING
Length up to 48mm; Wingspan reaches 51mm.
Easily recognised and unlike any other spreadwing in the region. The large size, green, turquoise and brown colouration is distinctive. In males the obviously hooked, white claspers are diagnostic.
Females are similar to males but are duller and lack the distinctive white, hooked claspers.
Click here for more details on identification.
It occurs at ponds, pools and swamps, usually in humid, well wooded or forested areas. Prefers habitat with tall grass and sedges, usually surrounded by dense bush.
Spends long periods hanging vertically from tall emergent plant stems. They are well camouflaged and are a shy and weary species that retreats into thick vegetation when disturbed. Females occur in the same vicinity as the males.
Most active from late November to June, possibly all year at some sites. See Phenology below.
Status and Conservation
Lestes uncifer is an uncommon and very localised species. In South Africa it is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is due to its scarcity and marginal occurrence in the country. It has a wider distribution in tropical Africa and is therefore considered of Least Concern over the rest of its range. The Sickle Spreadwing is fairly sensitive to habitat degredation and is mostly found in undisturbed places. In some areas it will make use of small man-made ponds and dams, provided they offer good quality habitat.
It is native to much of the southern and eastern parts of Africa, where it is widespread. It ranges from South Africa up to Kenya and Uganda in the north.
Below is a map showing the distribution of records for Sickle Spreadwing in the OdonataMAP database as at February 2020.
The next map below is an imputed map, produced by an interpolation algorithm, which attempts to generate a full distribution map from the partial information in the map above. This map will be improved by the submission of records to the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum.
Ultimately, we will produce a series of maps for all the odonata species in the region. The current algorithm is a new algorithm. The objective is mainly to produce “smoothed” maps that could go into a field guide for odonata. This basic version of the algorithm (as mapped above) does not make use of “explanatory variables” (e.g. altitude, terrain roughness, presence of freshwater — we will be producing maps that take these variables into account soon). Currently, it only makes use of the OdonataMAP records for the species being mapped, as well as all the other records of all other species. The basic maps are “optimistic” and will generally show ranges to be larger than what they probably are.
These maps use the data in the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum, and also the database assembled by the previous JRS funded project, which was led by Professor Michael Samways and Dr KD Dijkstra.