Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Libellago aurantiaca (Selys, 1859)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Odonata
Family:Cholorocyphidae
Genus:Libellago
Species:L. aurantiaca
Common Names:Fiery Gem
Status:Uncommon

Description

In the males of this brilliantly-coloured damselfly, the hindwing is 15 to 17 mm in length and the total body length ranges from 19 to 21 mm. The males are smaller than their congeners and have a bright red abdomen and a thorax marked with yellow and black. There is a dark apical spot on each forewing, which shows blue iridescence when observed at certain angles. Females have dull-coloured abdomens and are rarely seen. They are black with yellowish or greyish olive markings on the thorax and abdomen.

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

Distribution

Found throughout Sundaland and south-western Thailand.

Localities

Only been recorded in Nee Soon Swamp Forest and Lower Peirce Reservoir.

Locality Map

General Biology

Libellago aurantiaca is usually found in sluggish brooks and quiet parts of swift, clear streams, typically with a sandy or silty bottom, in lowland forest. They are often seen perching on semi-submerged logs and sometimes on floating leaves being carried downstreams.

The males are territorial and are known to establish territories ranging from 1.5 to 3 metres in diameter. During aerial territorial flights, two males face each other, slowly circling and make forward movements without bodily contact. They hold their nearly motionless forewings forward to display the dark apical spots while their flight is maintained by the flapping of their hindwings. Sometimes, up to three or four males are seen chasing each other in a small circle. Occasionally, the males will chase the females. After mating, the females oviposit on the floating grass blades or partially submerged twigs in the streams. They may crawl along the grass blades or twigs as they oviposit.

Records

The first description of L. aurantiaca was based on A.R. Wallace’s specimens collected in Singapore and Johor in 1854.

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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