Last Updated on Thursday, 01 June, 2023 11:48:51 PM

Damselflies of Borneo  >  Family Chlorocyphidae  >  Rhinocypha aurofulgens (Laidlaw, 1931)

An Endemic Damselfly of Borneo

Family: Chlorocyphidae
Rhinocypha aurofulgens (Laidlaw, 1931)

An Endemic Damselfly of Borneo


A young female Rhinocypha aurofulgens
A young female Rhinocypha aurofulgens
at her roosting ground (resting place) 50 meters beside Sungai Tawau (Tawau River).

In that one square meter of roosting area was also a female Rhinocypha humeralis and a female Neurothemis terminata

A young male Rhinocypha aurofulgens
A young male Rhinocypha aurofulgens

Rhinocypha  are seen only near streams in the forests. The males are very attractive and black in color, but deep orange on thorax. The wings are transparent, and black at the tip .

Males stand out with their brilliant blue abdomens and copper -tipped wings even as they perch in sunlight on twigs emerging from the water. Even more spectacular are their territorial contests. Two males face each other with tips of their abdomens cocked sharply upwards. They hover together in a gently modulated ascending flight, following each other's movements as though connected by an elastic band. This cycle is repeated time and again for periods of up to half an hour and the glint of light from their iridescent orange wing tips is easily visible from 100 meters.

Their courtship is even more extraordinary. The male, lacking the white pruinescence on his legs so characteristic of the family, courts the female from a standing position. Having located an ovipositing female on an emergent log the male perches in front of her and fans his shimmering wings forward, vibrating them in a peacock-like display. The blue abdomen is raised and at the peak of his excitement he makes a few small hops toward her. If she remains quiescent he will try to mount her. Copulation is brief, no more than two minutes, and the male guards the female as she oviposits for several hours after mating.

Females often oviposit in groups together with Libellago semiopaca. Courtship and mating are not often observed.
My son saw this attractive blue damselfly when he was playing on the sun lighted mountain stream during a school holiday picnic in Tawau Hills National Park om 11 March 2007. It turn out to be a seldom photographed Rhinocypha aurofulgens from the family CHLOROCYPHIDAE

the wings are tinted coffee brown with a undistinctive pterostigma.

Rhinocypha aurofulgens


Female Rhinocypha aurofulgens.
When immature,  is yellowish in color (as in this photo) and will gradually darken to bluish as she mature.

See the bluish color already faintly appearing on the yellow part of the thorax.
A female. Notice the clear Y pattern on the top of the thorax and the extended upturned nose the rhinarium

Rhinocypha aurofulgens has a funny big nose.

This big nose, is a unique identification to the few species of Rhinocypha.

The head bears a unique upturned snout (rhinarium) which projects far beyond the eyes.
The rhinarium is the wet, naked surface around the nostrils in most mammals. It is an area of hairless skin surrounding the nostrils. Colloquially it called "wet snout". But the rhinarium of this damselfly is neither hairless nor wet.

Damselflies are not mammals, the function of their rhinarium like nose at present is unclear.

Ventral view of second abdominal segment of the above male Rhinocypha aurofulgens

This damselfly has smoothly rounded seminal vesicles (lower end of segment 2 which is out of focus in this photo).

Seminal Vesicle is a bulblike structure at the rear end of segment two of a male for storing sperm.
Before mating, all male odonates (damselflies and dragonflies) translocate sperm from the testes (segment 9) to the penis (segment 2),

Spines on the horns of the penis (segment 2), of damselflies help remove the sperm stored by females
Seminal Vesicle is a bulbous structure at the rear end of segment two of a male damselfly. (Not all damselfly have seminal vesicle)

A damselfly with neat rectangular marks on abdominal. Most damselflies have rounded marks.

Abdominal segment of the above male Rhinocypha aurofulgens

Other blue damselflies of Sabah :

Elattoneura coomansi

Endemic of Borneo

Euphaea impar


Rhinocypha humeralis

Rhinocypha aurofulgens

Ischnura senegalensis

Lestes praemorsus decipiens

Libellago semiopaca

Xiphiagrion cyanomelas


Tawau River of Sabah

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Damselflies of Borneo