Sunday, 1 July 2012

Libellago aurantiaca (Fiery Gem)

Libellago is my favourite genus of damselflies. This is an Asian genus under the family Chlorocyphidae. There are only about 30 species in this genus in the world and many of them are brilliantly coloured and exhibit fascinating territorial and courtship behaviour.

Four Libellago species have been recorded in Singapore since 1854. Sadly, one of them has become nationally extinct.

Libellago aurantiaca (Fiery Gem) is an uncommon species in Singapore and has for a long time only been recorded in Nee Soon Swamp Forest and Lower Peirce Reservoir. The first description of L. aurantiaca was based on A.R. Wallace’s specimens collected in Singapore and Johor in 1854.

It is difficult to observe the behaviour of L. aurantiaca in Singapore as they occur only in small numbers in their habitats. During my recent trip to Endau Rompin National Park in Malaysia, I saw at least 8 males and 8 females at a single site. I managed to record their amazing behaviour on video - territorial fight, courtship (males displaying whites legs to females), mating and group oviposition.

Libellago aurantiaca in Endau Rompin from tanghb on Vimeo.

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