Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum


Photo credit: Tang Hung Bun


This family includes small to medium sized species, generally with rather broad wings and a robust build.  Their eyes are large and touch in the centre of the head. The abdomen is often broad and flat. In many species the body is partly or mainly red, a colour not known in other families of true dragonflies in Singapore. Others may be yellow or blue and many species develop pruinescence (a waxy grey or bluish coloration on certain parts of the body as the dragonfly matures). Females are less colourful and are often brownish yellow. Many species have distinct patterns on the wings. Libelluids include the most commonly seen dragonflies and are often found around disturbed open habitats, especially still water, such as ponds and marshes. They also frequent drains. Males stake out and defend territories. Some species are perchers and cling horizontally to the tips of stems, while others are gliders and can stay aloft for hours at a time. Gliders tend to have broad hindwings.

Worldwide there are over 1000 species in over 140 genera. In Peninsular Malaysia, 78 species are known. With 55 recorded species, this is by far the largest odonate family in Singapore.

Read more about the Odonata order.
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