Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola Selys, 1877

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Odonata
Family:Coenagrionidae
Genus:Argiocnemis
Species:A. rubescens
Sub-species:rubeola
Common Names:Variable Sprite
Status:Uncommon

Description

This damselfly has pointed wing tips. In males, the hindwing is 16 to 18 mm in length and the total body length ranges from 33 to 36 mm. It is a confusing species because of its age related colour variation. In immature specimens of both sexes, the segments one to five of the abdomen are orange to cherry red, but this darkens with maturity and the colouration becomes predominantly black and light blue.

In teneral individuals, the abdomen is red, gradually changing to light red towards the last segment. The synthorax is light yellow, very light brown on the dorsum and darkening with age. The upper part of the eye is light brown, gradually changing to dark brown with age and the lower part of the eye is yellow. The mouth is yellow.

In young males, the abdomen is dark from segments five to seven. Segments two to four remain red and segments eight to nine change from light red to light blue. The synthorax changes from light yellow, light green and then light blue. The two narrow bands on the synthorax dorsum have similar colour changes. Others parts of the synthorax are black. The upper part of the eye is black and the lower part is green.

In young females, the abdomen is darkened from segments five to seven and segments two to four remain red. The colours of the abdomen is lighter than those of the younger male. The abdominal segments eight to nine do not become light blue and the dorsum of segment eight has only a tiny patch of light red. The synthorax changes from light yellow to yellow. It does not become light blue as in the young males. The upper part of the eye is black and the lower part is green.

In mature males, the abdominal segments one to three are black on dorsum and blue ventrally. Segments four to seven are black and segments eight to nine are blue. The synthorax is blue and black. The upper part of the eye is black and the lower part is green.

In mature females, the abdominal segments one to seven are black on dorsum and blue ventrally. Segments eight to nine are black with a tiny patch of blue on the side of segment eight. There may be some blue colour at the joints between segments with the amount of blue diminishing from segments one to nine. The synthorax is blue and black, with yellow and two narrow blue bands are found on the dorsum. The upper part of the eye is black and the lower part is green.

Read more about the Odonata order.
Read more about the Coenagrionidae family.

Distribution

Argiocnemis rubescens ranges throughout the Indo-Australian tropics from India to Australia and New Guinea. Throughout its range, it is divided into many subspecies.

Localities

Localised in Singapore.

General Biology

This species is found in clear stagnant water in drains, ponds and marshes at the forest edges and in slow running waters in forest. It is seldom found far from shaded areas.

References

Tang, H. B., L. K. Wang & M. Hämäläinen, 2010. A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 222 pp.

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