Libellago hyalina, Selys, 1859 – Female

Family: Chlorocyphidae (Jewels)
Scientific Name: Libellago hyalina
Common Name: Clearwing Gem

The female of Libellago hyalina is as attractive as the male, in my opinion. The abdomen of the female has two colour form, a striking golden-orange coloured form and the dark grey coloured form.

This species usually appear in late morning, perching lowly on grass or twigs. They seem to be very active in the late morning to noon.

The abdomen of the young female is golden-orange in colour.

This is another coloured form, dark grey.

Image

Libellago hyalina, Selys, 1859 – Male

Family: Chlorocyphidae (Jewels)
Scientific Name: Libellago hyalina
Common Name: Clearwing Gem

Clearwing Gem is truely the flying jewels in the forests of our nature reserve. Although widespread in the Sundaland, they are rare in Singapore and can only be found at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This species inhibit slow flowing forest streams as well as swampy areas in the nature reserves, where both males and females prefer to perch lowly on twigs and leaves in the open areas near to streams or swamp.

Males are brightly coloured and the colour of their abdomen can range from glowing purple, to steel blue, to bluish grey when they matured. Females are slightly more common than males and they also have striking colours from bright orange to bluish grey.

Libellago hyalina is the third and last species of Chlorocyphidae (Jewels) that is still surviving in Singapore, (the fourth species, Libellago stigmatizans is extinct). All Libellago species of Singapore should be protected.

This is the glowing purple abdomen form when male is at the young adult stage

As the male matures, the abdomen slowing change to steel blue form

At adult stage, the abdomen is bluish grey in colour

Libellago lineata Burmeister, 1839

Family: Chlorocyphidae (Jewels)
Scientific Name: Libellago lineata
Common Name: Golden Gem

Golden Gem is one of the most attractive damselfly that can be found in Singapore. It is rare and can only be found at two locations, Mandai Stream and Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The male has an attractive golden-yellow markings on the 5-6 abdominal segments.  It also has a dark apical spot on the forewing. Young males will defend territories around fallen tree trunk, floating leaves, or twigs. Female is rather rare and has more extensive pale yellowish markings on the thorax and abdomen.

Male like to perch on emergent water plants, floating leaves, twigs etc and defend it's territories.
Male like to perch on emergent water plants, floating leaves, twigs etc and defend it’s territories.
This male is resting on a fallen leave on the side of a running stream, under the shade of surrounding vegetation.
This male is resting on a fallen leave on the side of a running stream, under the shade of surrounding vegetation.
Female on twig
Female on twig
Males fighting for territories
Males fighting for territories
Image

Libellago aurantiaca Selys, 1859

Family: Chlorocyphidae (Jewels)
Scientific Name: Libellago aurantiaca
Common Name: Fiery Gem

This brilliantly coloured damselfly is unmistakeable. In the book “Dragonflies of Singapore”, it mentioned this is an uncommon species but I would think it is a relatively rare species, compared to Libellago lineata  and Libellago hyalina. It can only be found at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The habitat for this species is clear, flowing forest streams with sandy bottom. Male is often seen perching on twig, water plants or floating leaves flowing down the streams. So far, I have not seen female of this species yet.

Male perching on floating plant on fast flowing stream in the swamp forest
Resting on water plant
Resting on water plant
perching on twig above forest stream
perching on twig above forest stream
Image

Onychothemis testacea Laidlaw, 1902

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Onychothemis testacea
Common Name: Riverhawk

It was a normal sunny Thursday morning on 29th December 2011, as usual, I was shooting dragonflies at one of my favourite hunting ground – chestnut forests. That morning was exceptionally good in insect activities as the ground was literally bustling with these foraging insects. There were common blue skimmers, slender blue skimmers, spine-tufted skimmers, scarlet skimmers and many small skipper butterflies flying around. I thought since all these are commoners, it will be another uneventful day.

While I was shooting the common dragonflies, I turned around and suddenly saw a strange and fierce looking dragonfly perched on a small twig, about 3 metres away from me. It was a robust, black looking insect, with yellow stripes on it’s thorax, yellow bands on it’s abdomen, very long hind legs and a pair of piercing dark green eyes. I slowing moved forward and from a distance, about 2 metres away, with my 100mm macro lens, I quickly snapped a few shots, knowing that this was something which I have never seen before.

While I moved in closer and tried to compose another shot, the dragonfly suddenly flew off and gone. Just as it suddenly disappeared, from nowhere, it re-appeared again, this time round with a small brown skipper butterfly under it’s claws. It was eating that butterfly alive. I was stunned! I quickly moved a few steps forward and took another few more shots.

When I tried to move in even closer, and focused on the eyes of that dragonfly, it saw me. Yes, it literally tilted it’s head up and look into my lens. Now, I was eye-to-eye in direct contact with this insect. Sensing my threat, it flew off again, still with it’s food in it’s mouth and disappeared to nowhere.

For the next 5 minutes or so, I tried to search for it everywhere, and eventually yes, I did found it, this time, it perched on a tree branch, about 2.5 to 3 metres away from the ground. From this angle, I could only manage some long distance shots.

I sent the photos to Mr. Tang and he told me that this was a very rare dragonfly, a female Onychothemis testacea. I was told that I was the first and only person in Singapore who have seen and shot this female dragonfly. (A male of this species was shot along a nature trail in MacRitchie Reservoir in January 2008.)

After that fateful day, I have never seen this dragonfly again.

Image

Gynacantha bayadera Selys, 1891

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha bayadera
Common Name: Small Duskhawker

Out of the four Gynacantha Sp. that can be found in Singapore, I think Gynacantha bayadera  is the most elusive and most hard to find. It is consider rare in Singapore and the two specimens which I took, a male and a female are found at Mandai Forest.

The thorax of this species is entirely green. Unlike the other Gynacantha Sp. that can be found locally here, bayadera does not have a T-shaped mark on the frons. The superior appendages is straight and fairly short.

From my observation, G. bayadera prefer to perch lowly on twig or branch in thick forest and will not move far if disturbed. It’s greenish thorax and small size also blend in perfectly well with the surrounding vegetation. It is a fairly a localized species and quite rare.

Male
Female
Female