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Libellago aurantiaca (Selys, 1859)
by Mrs. Nurfarhana Hizan Binti Hijas & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Choong Chee Yen
© © Choong Chee Yen

Libellago belongs to the family Chlorocyphidae and a majority of the species are diminutive. The members of the family Chlorocyphidae are quite unique compared to the other damselfly families because their wings are longer than their abdomens. Libellago aurantiaca, commonly known as Fiery Gem (Wilson & Gibert, 2006) or Fiery Jewel, is a small damselfly with hindwings measuring 15-20 mm in length.

Among the few Libellago species from Malaysia, the male of L. aurantiaca is particularly attractive with a yellow and black marked thorax and a bright red abdomen. The wings are hyaline with dense venation, and the bases are without a pronounced yellow tint. A large dark spot is present at the tip of the forewings (Hämäläinen, 2002). While the female, distinct from the male, has a dull yellowish brown body. Females are frequently found in a group to lay eggs on decayed logs that are half submerged in flowing water (Choong et al., 2018). At a glance, L. aurantiaca looks very similar to Sundacypha petiolata (Sunda Jewel). However, a thorough examination shows that the thoracic yellow marking and dark patch on hindwings are different between these two species.

According to Orr (1996), males establish territories of 1.5-3 m in diameter wherever decaying wood suitable for oviposition is present. They like to perch on emergent twigs, semi-submerged logs and on floating leaves and sticks in larger pools, usually in full sunlight. The Fiery Gem is widely distributed in Borneo, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand (Orr, 2005; Dow, 2011). It can be found in sluggish brooks and slow-flowing streams in lowland forests (Orr, 2005).

Libellago aurantiaca is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it is a widespread common species that can survive in disturbed forests, and therefore, there are no apparent risks for now (Dow, 2011).

References

  1. Choong, C.Y., Yasser, M.A. & Nurfarhana-Hizan, H. (2018). Ancient Creatures: Dragonflies and Damselflies of Malaysia. Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources, Putrajaya, Malaysia. pp. 115.
  2. Dow, R.A. (2011). Libellago aurantiaca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T174522A7082806. Retrieved April 07, 2023, from https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T174522A7082806.en
  3. Hamalainen, M. (2022). Notes on the Libellago damselflies of the andaman and Nicobar Islands, with description of a new species (Zygoptera: Chlorocyphidae). Odonatologica. 31 (4), 345-358
  4. Orr, A.G. (1996). Territorial and courtship displays in Bornean Chlorocyphidae (Zygoptera). Odonatologica. 25 (2), 119-141
  5. Orr, A.G. (2005). A Pocket Guide: Dragonflies of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Natural History Publication (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd., Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. pp. 127.
  6. Wilson, K.D.P. & Gibert, E. (2006). Survey of Odonata at Endau-Rompin, Peninsular Malaysia. Johor National Parks Corporation, Malaysia.
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