Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Rare damselfly discovered, new to Guapi Assu Reserve

6 January, 2014 - 15:38 -- World Land Trust
Photograph of Lestes pictus damselfly.

A beautiful blue spreadwing damselfly – Lestes pictus – has been recorded for the first time at Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA) in Brazil, a reserve supported by World Land Trust (WLT).

The recording was made by Dennis Paulson and Netta Smith. This is how Dennis described the discovery:

“Netta and I visited REGUA for almost two weeks in late October to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the lodge and the wildlife of the area, but our special purpose was to look for dragonflies and damselflies. 

“On 24 October, we visited a tiny, densely vegetated pond by the abandoned house on the Waldenoor Trail and found Lestes pictus, a new species for REGUA. This beautiful spreadwing damselfly is known from relatively few records from Peru, Argentina and southern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo).”

Wetland restoration

Treeplanting and wetland restoration over 25 years have already transformed REGUA's Guapi Assu reserve

Treeplanting and wetland restoration over 25 years have transformed Guapi Assu reserve. © REGUA.

The sighting is an indicator of the exceptional levels of biodiversity on the reserve, and is testimony to the success of REGUA's wetland restoration project.

The species belongs to the Lestidae (spreadwing) family of damselflies, which hold their wings slightly open in a V shape at about 45 degrees to the body when resting. This distinguishes them from most other species of damselflies, which hold the wings close to their body when at rest.

Like dragonflies, damselflies belong to the Odonata order of carnivorous insects and they feed on small insects including midges and mosquitoes. (The word Lestes means ‘predator’ in Greek.)

Damselflies and dragonflies can only breed in unpolluted, oxygen-rich water, and their presence is evidence of the clean waters of the reserve's wetland areas. 

During their visit to REGUA, Dennis and Netta encountered 78 species of Odonata, not even half of the species known from the area, but still a very impressive list for a short visit at the end of the dry season.

More information

WLT has been working in partnership with REGUA since 2005, and currently supports two rangers on the reserve through WLT's Keepers of the Wild programme. You can help more rare species make their home at REGUA by donating to Keepers of the Wild.

Donate to Keepers of the Wild »

Forest and wetland restoration success at REGUA, Brazil »
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