Territorial fight of Libellago lineata, the Golden Gem damselfly

on 2nd March 2014

Some male dragonflies and damselflies are very attached to their territories, so much so that they respond aggressively to intruding males of the same species. This is shown in Tang Hung Bun’s video clips of the damselfly, the Golden Gem (Libellago lineata). Two males are in a territorial flight, to be subsequently joined by a third. Such fights usually occur during the late morning and can last for over an hour.

These are beautiful damselflies. Unfortunately they are rare in Singapore, having been recorded in only two locations. One is a quiet corner of Lower Peirce Reservoir, within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The above clip, shown mostly in slow motion, reveals that during such an aerial territorial fight, two males face each other, slowly circling and making 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.

Tang Hung Bun
February 2014

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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