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Oligoaeschna foliacea Lieftinck, 1968 – Stunning Adult Male!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna foliacea Lieftinck 1968
Common Name: Leaftail

Oligoaeschna foliacea is one species of Aeshnidae that is seldom seen by the dragonfly enthusiast as not only it is rare, but also it is crepuscular, which means it is active during dawn and dusk. During the day, it rests deep in the wooded swampy forests, normally hanging vertically on leaf or twig just above an observer’s eye level.

During one of my usual dragonfly trip to the North-Western part of Singapore’s nature reserve, I have the chance to witness a splendid male in it’s full adult coloration.

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Even from far, this species stands out. Look at it’s green eyes and striking green markings on it’s thorax and abdomen. It curls it’s abdomen up, probably in preparation for mating.
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Hanging vertically on twig in the heavily shaded forest’s undergrowth. It is waiting to mate with the females which are probably nearby.
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A medium size Aeshnidae speies. Total body length is about 60mm, which is slightly smaller than the more common G.dohrni and G.subinterrupta. Very striking green eyes and thorax and abdomen are black with strong green markings.
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Dorsal view showing the splendid green and black dragonfly. The wings are slightly tinted with pale amber. Notice it has only three cells in the discoidal triangle on both wings.
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Here the anal appendages is shown. The superior appendages is leaf-shape like, and inferior appendage is longer than that of O.amata.
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In A.G.Orr’s book of dragonflies of P.Malaysia and Singapore, it is said that the striking green markings is easily lost in preserved specimens. To appreciate it’s full coloration, it is best view via a life specimen.
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Lateral view of the male. Notice the side of the thorax which is green with black stripe.

This is one of the most stunning species of dragonflies in my opinion. We are lucky that it can still be seen in Singapore. Wish that this species can continue to thrive in our nature reserves.

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Copera vittata (Selys, 1863)

Family: Platycnemididae
Scientific Name: Copera Vittata
Common Name: Variable Featherlegs

Copera Vittata is rare in Singapore and according to the book “Dragonflies of Singapore”, it was recorded in only two sites within the Western Catchment Areas. My specimen of this species was however, found at another location, inside the dense vegetation and near the mangrove swamps of Pulau Ubin.

I found several individuals, both males and females, and one mating couple, near the small drain that exits into the sea. It was heavily shaded and the sluggish channels was perfect environment for this species to thrive.

This species is slender and dainty. It has variegated pattern of greenish yellow maculation on the synthorax.  Immature has pale whitish body, known as “Ghost form”.

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Copera Vittata, male. Notice the variegated yellow-greenish pattern on it’s thorax. It has yellow legs.
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This female has similar variegated pattern on it’s thorax. However, she looks more “reddish” in colour to me.
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An immature male in “ghost form”. Notice it has striking variegated pattern on it’s thorax, greenish eyes on top, and whitish abdomen with rings.
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Closer-up with “ghostly -look!”. Legs are reddish.
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Another immature male. It has white anal appendages.
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Another adult male individual.
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Adult female. Notice the “reddish”body and green eyes.
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Same couple.
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Frontal shot of the male.
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Another shot of the couple. Resting on grass beside the small drain.

Palua Ubin is the only site I have seen this species. I would say this is a very interesting looking species of damselfly due to it’s ghost form. I was especially fascinated by the eye’s colour and pattern. A must-see species for dragonfly enthusiasts.

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Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)

Family: Platycnemididae
Scientific Name: Copera marginipes
Common Name: Yellow Featherlegs

Yellow Featherlegs is a fairly common damselfly which inhibit small streams, sluggish and often muddy channels, swamps around forest edges. In Singapore, I have encounter this species at Chestnut forest, and the forest around Mandai and Kranji.

This species is easily recognizable. Male has dark thorax with yellow streaks. The legs are yellow and flatten and the last two abdominal segments including the anal appendages are white.

Female has duller white or yellow streaks and abdomens are black.

Both immature male and female have white bodies and they are called – the “Ghost Form”.

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A mating couple. Near a forest stream in Mandai.
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An adult male. Notice the yellow streaks on it’s thorax and yellow legs.
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A fairly young adult male. Some abdominal segments are still whitish.
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Another male. Notice the white abdominal segments.
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Young immature “ghost form”male.
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Another immature “ghost from”male.
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The duller adult female. This individual has it’s abdominal tips whitish.
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Another female.
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A third female. This looks like a younger specimen.
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A “ghost form”female.
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Another couple in tandem.
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An unfortunate male. Dead in the hands of a Robberfly.
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Pornothemis starrei Lieftinck, 1948 – Young Male

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Pornothemis starrei
Common Name: Mangrove Marshal

Pornothemis starrei young male is like the female with almost the same coloration.

It was quite rare and this one was found at the mangrove habitats at the northern part of Singapore.

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Young male resting on twig some distance away from the mangrove.
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Side view with distinctive olive brown thorax.
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Clear wings, black legs and abdomen.
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Eyes are brownish on top and greenish below.
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Protruding secondary genitalia.
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close-up of head and thorax.

This species prefers mangrove habitats and males are always found nearby when females are around. A species that should not be that difficult to encounter if one is at the right time and place.