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Raphismia bispina (Hagen, 1867) * Male

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Raphismia bispina
Common Name: Mangrove Dwarf

This is an uncommon species of dragonfly which inhabits mangrove swamps. It can be found at Changi, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Mandai, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and other offshore islands. It is one of the dragonfly species that live and breeds in the salt water of back mangroves swamps and the surrounding vegetation.

The male Raphismia bispina looks like a smaller version of a Brachydiplax chalybea. It is in fact much smaller, lighter, and has a clear wing base. The male tend to perch for long period of time defending their territories against rival males in the mangrove swamps.

The thorax of the male is slate blue with mottled yellow marking on the sides. The eyes are dark brown on top and yellow below. The abdomen is slate blue with the last four segments black. There are two short spines behind the legs and beneath the thorax.

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Adult male. The thorax and abdomen is covered with blue pruinescense.
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Another male. Dorsal view with well-defined segments of blue and black.
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Same male.
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Third male. The wings are clear.
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Third male. Lateral view. The two short spines can be seen in this shot.

Sub-adult male. The series of whitish streaks on the abdomen against the slate blue and black body is striking.

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Dorsal view of the sub-adult male.
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Well-defined markings and streaks on the thorax and abdomen.
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Eyes are brown on top and greenish below. Frons is metallic blue.
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Lateral view.

Another sub-adult but slightly more matured male. It has lesser streaks on the sides of the abdomen than the earlier male.

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Dorsal view.
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The thorax and abdomen is slightly pruinosed.
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Dorsal view.
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Young adult male.
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Young adult male.
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Young adult male.

In Singapore, this species can be found whole year round in the mangrove swamps. I have seen them at Pulau Ubin and SBWR. A small and inconspicuous dragonfly but not difficult to find in the mangrove swamps. At times, they could be quite abundant.

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