Scientific Name: Heliaeschna uninervulata
Common Name: Lesser Night Hawker
Heliaeschna uninervulata aka lesser Nighthawker in the local context is considered to be very rare in Singapore. I have sighted this species a couple of times especially at the Central Catchment Nature Reserves.
The current female species is sighted outside the nature reserve at a place I frequently explore for Gynacantha sp. such a G.basiguttata and G.dohrni. I am quite surprise to find this species over there as my impression is that this species prefers pristine forest with running streams nearby.
Nevertheless I am more than happy to have captured this species again – my third female’s encountered.
I believe this species is quite widely distributed in Singapore as I had bumped into this species at no less than five occasions, all at different locations. The Central Catchment Nature Reserve is the best place to observe this species.
Scientific Name: Heliaeschna crassa
Common Name: Nighthawker
Heliaeschna crassa is very rare in Singapore. It inhabit swampy forests and are crepuscular. So far, I have bumped into this species only twice over the span of 5 years of my dragonfly hunting. Once in the forest near Upper Pierce Reservoir, and this one, near Chestnut forest. On both occasions, it’s appearance was caused by my unintentional disturbance while I was walking along the forest trail. My observation of this species is that it tends to be very sensitive to any movements in the surroundings. Once it flies off, it will never come back again. Also, it tends to perch quite low in the dense vegetation.
This is a pretty large species. The eyes of the male are bottle green. The thorax is green and somewhat flatten with greenish transverse flecks and the abdomen of this one is black, probably indicating this is an older male. It has 4-5 crossveins in the median space at the base of the wings.
The top of the frons is black w/o a T-mark. The wings are brownish tinted.
The most unique feature of this species is it’s anal appendages. The male superior appendages is thin and long with a somewhat swollen recurved tip pointing outward. The inferior appendage is very short and slightly recurved.
This species is definitely one of the rarest species of dragonfly in Singapore. Unfortunately, I only managed to take a couple of shots before this male shoot off and disappeared into the forests.
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903)
Common Name: Paddle-tail
Female O.amata is considered to be rare in Singapore. This species can only be found at a few localised areas in the Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Although rare, this species may appear in numbers, both males and females during the breeding seasons. During the day, it hides in the deep undergrowth in the secondary forests, and forages during dusk and dawn. I have seen female species of both O.amata and O.foliacea occurs during the breeding seasons.
This species normally rest on leaves or twig just above an observer’s eyes level. It prefers heavily shaded forests where it rests during the day. It is quite easy to approach this species if it is left undisturbed, although taking photograph in the dim environment may pose a challenge.
Of all the Aeshnide species of dragonfly that can be found in Singapore, this is amongst the most brilliantly coloured species.
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker
Gynacantha subinterrupta is an uncommon Aeshnidae species of dragonfly. Fairly large and hide in the deep undergrowth of the forest during the day. Venture out at dawn and dusk, feeding on small insects.
In Singapore, I have seen this species at Bukit Timah nature reserve, Dairy Farm nature reserve, Upper Pierce Reservoir and the forest at Mandai.
In my opinion, amongst all the species of Aeshnidae dragonfly in Singapore, this species is the most colourful.
Gynacantha basiguttata is a large forest-dwelling species of dragonfly which is rarely seen in Singapore. During the recent dry spell, I have encountered at least four males guarding their own territory in the dry forest pool. Each male perched on their favourite spot which overlook it’s territory. When there is intrusion of the same species male, the territory male will drive away the intruder and return to it’s favourite perch.
The male will stay in their territories for days in anticipation for the arrival of the female. Sometimes very close and violent contact among males do occurred where the sound of wings clasping could be heard.
This time round I did not notice any females around, although I have seen female of another hawker species, Gynacantha dohrni. When female arrives, they will mate with the male and then proceed to lay their eggs in the forest floor, before the rain arrives and flooded the forest floor.
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.
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.
Oligoaeschna foliacea is a very rare species of dragonfly which inhabit wooded swampy forests in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is crepuscular where it rests in the forests during the day, and forages for insects during dusk and dawn. This species like to rest vertically on twigs or leaves, generally slightly above an observer’s eye-level.
The male is rather rare but may appear in numbers during the breeding seasons. It can be told apart from the similar O. amata by the shape of it’s anal appendages. It’s superior appendages has a leaf-like profile view and it’s inferior appendage is longer than that of O.amata.
The best time to observe this species is in September to October in the Central Nature Reserve.