Mortonagrion arthuri Fraser, 1942

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Mortonagrion arthuri
Common Name: Arthur’s Midget

Mortonagrion arthuri is a locally rare species of damselfly which is confined to mangrove habitats around Singapore, particularly Pulau Ubin, Pulau Semakau and Sungei Cina.

Their natural habitats are inlets of mangrove swamps where they like to rest on the tip of an emergent twig of mangrove trees.

Male has two color forms.¬† Blue form and yellow form. The blue form has blue stripes on the side of the thorax and blue postocular spots; while the yellow form has similar features but in yellow. Male also has distinct blue spots on the segment 8 of it’s abdomen.

Females are duller in color. It has brown thorax with similar stripes to the male. Young female also has the distinct spots on it’s abdomen. Older female has the spots completely obscured.

In general, males of mortonagrion arthuri are more rarer than females.

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Female mortonagrion arthuri. Notice the blue stripes and blue spots on the abdomen. This specimen was found at Pulau Ubin.
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Same female as above.
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Another female at Pulau Ubin. This is a much older female where the abdomen is almost black with no visible spots on it’s abdomen.
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Another old female. The end of the abdomen are almost covered with earth. A sign of ovipositing on muddy soil.
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This female was found at Sungei cina. An old female with a muddy abdomen.
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Same female as above. This picture shows a brownish thorax with yellowish strips and postocular spots.
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An interesting view of the front which shows the dark brownish eyes and black face. Notice the “dracula-like” mouth!.
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Another female at sungei cina. This is a younger female with distinct blue spots at it’s abdomen.
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A lateral view of the above female.

Males of this species are generally hard to find. I have seen a couple of females at Pulau Ubin but not a single male.

I have better luck at Sungei Cina, where I managed to captured a couple of males both in blue and yellow form.

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Blue form male #1. It has distinct blue stripes and spots on it’s abdomen. Also notice the unique shape of it’s postocular spots
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Male #1. side view.
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Male #1. Lateral view
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Male #1. Frontal shot showing the interesting facial features.
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Male #2. Young male, blue form.
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Male #2. Dorsal view. Notice the unique postocular eye spots, slim blue stripes and blue marks on the abdomen’s segment 8.
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Male #2. Appendages are black The superior appendages are shorter than the inferiors.
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Male #3, yellow form. taken against the swampy mangrove.
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Male #3. Lateral view. Notice the small spots at the side of the abdomen.
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Male #4 yellow form. Why is this specimen looks abit greenish in color?
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Male #4. yellowish / greenish male form.
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Male #4.

In Singapore, not many photos of this species has been available in the internet. I hope these photos could add to the archive of the diversity of odonata found in Singapore’s natural environment.

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The beauty of Paragomphus capricornis

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Male, a robust and stout-bodied gomphid.
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An unmistakable dark body with yellow bands. Male’s appendages are unique.
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It has light to dark green eyes. A sun-loving species which prefer opened grasslands.
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Females are equally majestic as the males. Here, she is doing the obelisk stunt under the scorching heat.
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Another female with a well-balancing act.
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This female looks quite gruesome. does she?

Encounter with a Sub-adult male Trithemis festiva (albeit a dead-one)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Trithemis festiva
Common Name: Indigo Dropwing

I believed everyone has seen a blue-coloured Trithemis festiva before, but has anyone seen a yellow one?

A few years ago while I was walking along a gravel track inside Lor Asrama , a small dragonfly suddenly fell from the sky and landed in front of me. Noticing it was something I have never seen, I immediately took a few shots as it wriggled on the ground, dying from the immense heat on the dirt road.

Later, I moved and placed it on top of a small plant under some shades and took some photos.

I believed it could be the sub-adult male of Trithemis festiva which not many people had seen before.

What do you think?

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This sub-adult male Trithemis festiva suddenly dropped from the sky and landed on the gravel road. It was dead a short while later.
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I placed it on top of a small plant. Notice the similarities from the adult males, such as the top of the eyes are brownish, and the small dark spots on the base of the hind wings.
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While one thing similar to the adult form of the blue male is that they both have the yellow steaks along the abdomen.
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The yellow strips on the side of the thorax and and abdomen would later turn into dark blue when the male matures.
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Frontal shot of the light brownish eyes.

It was strange why wasn’t the sub-adult male as frequently seen as the adult male. It could be that the young male prefer to reside in the tree top before venturing into the nearby streams for mating when it becomes adult male.

Dragonflies & Damselfly of the mangrove swamps

In this post, I would like to showcase a few species of dragonfly and damselfly which could only be found in the mangrove swamps around Singapore’s coastal regions. Areas which I had visited include Sungei¬† Buloh Wetalnd Reserves, Pulau Ubin, and the mangrove swamps around the North Western part of Singapore.

Some species are uncommon such as mangrove dwarf (Raphismia bispina) whilst others are rare, such as the elusive mangrove marshal (Pornothemis starrei) and Arthur’s Midget (Mortonagrion arthuri).

  1. Raphismia bispina (Mangrove Dwarf)

They are uncommon species and one of the few dragonfly species that lives and breeds in the salt water in mangrove swamps. I have seen and recorded this species at Pulau Ubin, SBWR, and Sungei Cina.

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Young female Raphisma bispina. It has clear wings. The eyes are brown on top and yellow below. It has mottled yellow marking at the side of it’s thorax and yellow streaks along the abdomen.
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An older female where the yellow markings at the side of the thorax and abdomen are obscured.
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A sub-adult male. The thorax is slated blue with some yellow streaks at the side of the abdomen.

2. Pornothemis starrei (Mangrove Marshal)

This species is rare in Singapore. I have come across it once at SBWR and Pulau Ubin and a few occasions at sungei cina.

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A female pornothemis starrei.
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A male pornothemis starrei. It is slightly metallic black with white pruinescence on the dorsum of the thorax.

3. Mortonagrion arthuri ( Arthur’s Midget)

Mortonagrion arthuri is also a mangrove species and could be found at Pulau Ubin and Sungei Cina.

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A female Mortonagrion arthuri resting at the tip of the root of mangrove tree. It has brown thorax with blue stripes. Similar to males, it also has distinct blue markings on segment 8 of the abdomen.
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An older female. The blue markings on the abdomen is already obscured and could not be seen.
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A male mortonagrion arthuri. Male has two colour forms. This is a bue form which it has blue stripes on the thorax and blue postocular spots. Notice the distinct blue markings at segment 8 of the abdomen.

Although not exclusively associate with mangrove habitats, the following two species of dragonfly could also be found there.

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A male Orthetrum sabina ( Variegated green skimmer).
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A female Agrionoptera insignis (grenadier).

It is important to preserve our limited mangrove habitats so the rare species of plants and animals could continue to thrive there.