Gynacantha basiguttata Selys, 1882

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker


A rare, large, greenish hawker species of dragonfly that is not often seen in Singapore, Gynacantha basiguttata or spoon-tailed Duskhawker largely inhibits swampy and leafy-bottom pools in the nature reserves and secondary forests. I have encountered this species many times at a particular spot of forest pools in the secondary forest off Mandai area.

It is a large forest leafy-bottomed pool, guarded by several male individuals, each guarding it’s own territory. Each male will chase away other rival males, and will try to mate with the female once she descends to the pool to mate. The pools is also a breeding ground for other hawker species, such as the spear-tailed duskhawher and Dingy Duskhawker.

This species is quite easy to recognise in the field, as it is really quite a large dragonfly species. The wings are clear with a deep brown patch at the base. The eyes are big and greenish. The thorax is generally green and legs are black. The male abdomen is slim with transverse greenish flecks. The most distinguishing feature is it’s two spoon-shaped anal appendages. These superior appendages are covered with an inner tuft of hairs.

Male – dorsal view. Male will generally hang lowly and vertically on twig, roots or tree trunk in the day, like this individual.
Male – side view. They will stay motionlessly as long as they are not disturb by other rival males. Once they are challenged by other males, they will chase them far away and return to the same perch.
Close-up of the male”s superior appendages.

Females are generally similar to males, except is slightly larger, and not often encountered.

Female individual with the appendages broken-off. They are similar to the males, except slightly larger and rarer.
Clearer view of the underside.

I am lucky at one of the outing where I encountered a mating pair.

My only shot of a mating pair. This photo is taken in a heavily dense forest environment and they do perch quite high up.

This forest pool in the secondary forest will eventually dried up during the dry season and the dried up soil is the place where the females oviposit their eggs.

Watch out for my next post!


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