Thursday, 4 February 2010

In Wheel And Ovipositing - Copera ciliata

I decided to do a stake-out at one of the ponds this morning.  I have been thinking... if I sit there long enough and keep watch, I would eventually observe something happening, right? 

This theory have been proven true once again.  Towards the end of the stake-out, which actually lasted more than 3 hours, I had to put up with some discomfort from a full bladder but it was certainly well worth it.  After all, the saying that holding back will cause your full bladder to explode is really only a myth.

The stake-out was fruitful and as you can guess, I've got myself more photos of dragonflies and damselflies to add to my collection so I am rather pleased with the whole thing.

Actually, I was hoping to get a shot of the Tholymis tillarga that I have seen patrolling tirelessly at the pond but that did not happen.  Eventually, my focus went to the Copera ciliata instead.  I had posted some info and photos of this species in an earlier article, read it here.

Anyway, here's a photo of the Copera ciliata perched on a grass leaf that is still wet with dew this morning.



I did not see how it all started but all of a sudden there was this pair of Copera ciliata in wheel right in front of me, so I took tons of photos of them.  Although it was not mentioned in the Pocket Guide, I now know that the female has similar markings to the male and it looks to me that the female is more whitish in colour.  The next photo shows a pair of Copera ciliata in copula.



And then I sat and waited again.  After quite some time, having finished receiving the sperm pouch from the male to fertilise her eggs, the female straightened out her abdomen but the pair of Copera ciliata continued to remain in tandem for ages and they remained perch in the same place.



Perhaps due to activities of other dragonflies buzzing around, the tandem pair then flew away to perch on another grass leaf and this happened a few times.



After that, it was only the female damselfly who would perch while the male damselfly kept his hold on her and remained overhead to guard her.  But all they did was fly and perch, then fly and perch.



Eventually, while still in tandem, the female started ovipositing her eggs when she stopped at a perch.  The male kept his hold on her and was contact guarding the female all the time throughout the whole process.



Ovipositing occurred at various locations dispersed over a small area of the pond.  The female damselfly oviposited both into the grass stems above the water and also into the grassy pond.

After that, I lost them.

Even then, I am glad to have observed the wheel position and ovipositing behaviour of these damselflies.  It has certainly made my day!



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