|Vestalis gracilis (Rambur, 1842),
the Clear-winged Forest Glory, is a species of damselfly belonging to the
family Calopterygidae. It is found throughout the Oriental region. A subspecies,
V. g. montana Fraser, 1934, has been described from south India.
It is a large and graceful damselfly.
The male has a length of 45 to 46 mm in abdomen and hindwing of 34 to 38
mm. The male is a metallic green colour. The eyes are dark brown above
and greenish yellow below. The thorax and abdomen are iridescent emerald
green above. Below, The thorax is yellow while the abdomen is black and
is long and slim. There are slight yellow/white markings to the thorax.
Legs brown. Wings are transparent with a bluish tinge. The wing-spot is
absent. Ironic, really, as its common name is Clear-winged Forest Glory
and is the only one in the genus to have colouration to the wings.
The female abdomen 43 to 50 mm, hindwing
36 to 39 mm. The female has duller greenish-brown colouration. The female
is almost identical to the male, but has a stouter abdomen and has very
prominent caudal appendages.
Found along water-courses in hilly
regions. Being large, it flies a little bit clumsily and tends to crash
land on leaves and branches much smaller than itself, but looks really
beautiful. It is the most common of the Vestalis species. It lives near
slow moving water under lots of forest coverage. The damselflies are often
encountered in large numbers in shady forest clearings. they are sometimes
associated with Black-tipped Forest Glories (Vestalis apicalis).
Vestalis gracilis is very widely
distributed, occurring from eastern India to Viet Nam and Peninsular Malaysia.
This is a common species over much of its large range, and one that occurs
in disturbed habitats. It is assessed by IUCN Red List as Least Concern.