Heliogomphus kelantanensis (Laidlaw, 1902) – Sighting of a mating pair

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Heliogomphus kelantanensis
Common Name: Malayan Grappletail

Heliogomphus kelantanensis is a rare forest inhabitant of swift flowing streams. It is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. In Singapore, this rare species is found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015, a male specimen has been described by Laidlaw in 1902, but the female is in a poor state to describe. The only other record of the female is by Lieftinck (1932), who described based on a larva of a female.

In May 2015, I came across two males perching on low vegetation in the deep forest of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The first male was a rather pristine young male, whilst the second male has it’s right lower wing slightly torn at the tip. The two males were perching very low near a forest stream, about 1 metre apart from each other, and were possibly waiting for a mating female.

Shortly after, a female arrived, and was immediately grabbed by the second male and they flew away to the nearly shrub while in tandem. The mating took well over ten minutes before they flew deeper into the thick vegetation and out of sight. This was the first time I have seen a mating pair.

The first male, rather pristine. It has a uniform olive green to the sides of the thorax.
The eyes are bluish-green. The wings are clear. Abdomen is dark and anal appendages are short.
The synthorax is dark with pale green markings.
It is a medium-size gomphid. Hindwing 25-26mm, body length 37mm.
The second male. Right lower wing slightly torn at the tip.
A young male, which could have emerged about the same time as the first male.
Dorsal view of the second male.
Here the torn wing is clearly visible. The damaged wing could be due to fighting with rival male.

I have seen the female of this species only once in June 2013 in the Nature Reserve. Female has similar markings as the male.

A female in dorsal view. A bit duller but otherwise, thoracic markings similar to the male.
The lower pair of wings is rounder. Abdomen is slightly thicker.
The sides of the thorax is yellowish-green. There is a series of yellow markings to the sides of the abdomen.
The mating pair as described earlier. The mating male is the second male with the torn wing.

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