California Spreadwing

A few days ago I was surprised to find a California spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes californicus) hanging onto a window screen at our house (Modoc County CA). The California spreadwing’s habitat is streams with alders and willows. We have a couple willows in our yard, but the nearest stream or running water is over a mile away as the crow flies. What was this nearly-dead dragonfly doing near our house?

The long, blackish brown body of the California spreadwing is pruinose (light-colored powdery covering) near the posterior tip.  The thorax has two incomplete white stripes on each side. The stigma (colored, thick area on the front edge of the wing near the tip) is pale on colorless wings. At first I was confused because California spreadwings have blue eyes. But photographs of preserved specimens showed dark rather than blue eyes. The upper appendages are curved.

This damselfly usually flies late in the season and can be found well into December in areas.

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