Suborder Zygoptera
Family Chlorocyphidae

Family Chlorocyphidae figure 1
Photo by Stephen Moore

Small but robust damselflies (most species with head, thorax, and abdomen 20-30 mm in length), with the abdomen distinctly shorter than the wings when at rest. Most species have a pronounced 'nose' or rostrum formed by the clypeus, which projects conspicuously before the frons and compound eyes. There is only one genus in the Papuan region.

Genus Rhinocypha Rambur, 1842

Males with the apical portion of both pairs of wings black-brown with an iridescent sheen, and black bodies often crossed by diagonal bands of bright blue. The wing markings of females are reduced or (in some western taxa) entirely absent.
Rhinocypha typically frequent stony, riffly streams with clear water, though they can be found on slow streams as well. They fly in open sunny areas and perch on overhanging twigs and foliage, or on rocks near the water's edge. Here the males catch the sunlight on their iridescent wings, which they open and close in precise wing- clapping rhythms to attract mates or intimidate conspecific rivals. Females also frequent exposed situations (though they are seen less often than the males), where they oviposit in partially-submerged rotting wood. Females will be best identified by association with males collected at the same locality. In most cases female thoracic patterns will closely approximate those of their respective males, with the blue colour of the males replaced by tan.
The different species and subspecies can be difficult to tell apart, but most of them exist in non-overlapping geographic ranges.

Two species are known from Maluku (R. aurulenta from Buru, can be told by its gold and copper iridescence; R. ustulata from Ambon, Seram, and Sula Islands, can be told by its distinct yellow antehumeral stripes), and R. liberata from New Britain and the Solomon Islands (which can be told by the yellow triangular spots on the upper surface of the abdomen, and the reduced wing markings). R. tincta is known from New Guinea and Maluku, and has been divided into seven subspecies.

Family Chlorocyphidae figure 2

Family Chlorocyphidae figure 3