Territorial fight of Libellago lineata, the Golden Gem damselfly

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

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