Very little is known about the Chiriquita shadowdamsel’s reproductive biology, life history patterns or feeding behaviour. Nevertheless, there are general biological characteristics of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) that are likely to apply here. Odonata species start their life as aquatic larvae or nymphs, before passing through a series of developmental stages or ‘stadia’ during which they must undergo several moults as they grow (4). The larval period in Palaemnema probably lasts one year (2). Before the final moult (emergence), metamorphosis occurs in which the larvae transform into the adult form. After emergence, adults undergo a pre-reproductive phase known as the maturation period, and this is when individuals normally develop their full adult colour. Odonata usually feed on flying insects, but are generalised, opportunistic feeders, and will often congregate around abundant prey sources such as swarms of termites or near beehives (4).
There is often fierce competition between males for access to reproductive females. Although females typically begin to lay eggs in the water immediately after copulation, often guarded by their mate, they can store live sperm in their body for days (4). In shadowdamsels (Palaemnema), pairs often concentrate at suitable oviposition sites, and males may guard females after copulation to prevent other males from mating with them (2).