Gynacantha dohrni Krüger, 1899

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha dohrni
Common Name: Spear-tail Duskhawker

Spear-tailed duskhawker is a widespread but uncommon species of fairly large dragonfly which can be found in many swampy forested areas around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserves as well as in the secondary forests of Mandai, Kranji and Chestnut area.

It is a species that prefers  dense and dark forest undergrowth, often around the vicinity of forest pools or streams where it hides in the shade and perch motionlessly on vertical twig during the day. It becomes active at dusk.

Male has green eyes and thorax. The auricles on the side of the 2nd abdominal segment are bright blue. It has a T-shaped marking on the top of the fron. Wings are mainly clear. Abdomen is dark with flecks of green markings. Male’s superior appendages are spear-shaped towards the tip, while the inferior appendage is short and pale in color.

Females generally are quite similar to males in term of color and markings. The wings are rounder and the appendages are often broken off due to mating or ovipositing. Females are found to breed in forest pools and sometimes they even ovipositing their eggs into rock, or mud crevices, from my observation.

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This fully matured male has greenish eyes, green thorax  and bright blue auricles.
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Female is much duller in coloration. This female has it’s anal appendages intact.
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Another male in lateral view. It likes to hang out in the forest where there are water sources.
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Another female where both of her anal appendages are broken-off. There were mud stain on the abdomen and anal appendages which is a clear indication that she has been ovipositing in the mud or muddy pool.
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A rare sighting of a mating pair in action.
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View from a different angle.
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View from the side. The mating took quite a while.
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This is an immatured male. It is generally brownish in color. The distinctive short and whitish inferior appendage and the spear-shaped superior appendages is a clear indication of this species.

This is one of the most common species of aeshnidae which can be found locally.

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Oligoaeschna Sp.

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata & foliacea
Common Name: Paddle-tail & Leaftail

The month of April 2018 has been an exciting month for odonata’s enthusiast as it heralds the re-appearance of the Oligoaeschna species at their usual hunting ( and mating) ground at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

In two separate days, I have captured a male and a female OLig species. The male should be the rare Oligoaeschna foliacea (by virtue of the shape of the male’s appendages); while the female should be that of Oligoaeschna amata, judging by the shape of it’s abdomen. Of course I could be wrong here so odonata’s experts out there kindly verify.

The male Oligoaescha foliacea

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A pristine young male specimen showing the striking green transverse flecks on the thorax and abdomen.
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Frons are black and eyes are green. Wings are slightly brownish.
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A profile view of the male
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Interesting angle from the bottom showing he shape of it’s anal appendages

The female Oligoaescha amata

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A “tail-less” female Olig. amata. Notice the shape of it’s abdomen.
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Green flecks are not as prominent as this could be an ageing female. Tails probably broken off from mating.
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Another interesting angle showing the “elegant” side view.

Not sure why but I only managed to capture these two individuals as most of the time when they appear, there were more. Nevertheless, it is still an exciting month allowing us a glimpse of this rare dragonfly species.

Heliaeschna crassa Krüger, 1899

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Heliaeschna crassa
Common Name: Nighthawker

Another very rare hawker species that can be found in Singapore, H. crassa inhabit swampy forests and are crepuscular in it’s natural habitat.

This was my 3rd sighting of this species, at the dense under-story of Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Compare to H. uninervulata and other Gynacantha Sp., H. crassa is far more elusive and also sensitive even to the slightest movements.

I am only able to capture a glimpse of this individual and a few shots before it disappear into the surrounding vegetation.

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H.crassa -male. perching on a plant’s stem about 1.5 metre above the ground.
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An older male with part of it’s upper right wing missing.
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Unlike H.idae, H.crassa has it’s anal appendages slightly recurved.

Female of either H. crassa or H. idae has been photographed before in Singapore but I have yet to encounter any female species.

Heliaeschna uninervulata (F) Martin, 1909

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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At a glance the female is considered to be quite small in size, compared to H.crassa.
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The wings are clear and the appendages are still intact.
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Abdomen is dark brownish with dark flecks and patches.
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Notice the very striking greenish yellow eyes and olive green thorax.
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Here the single crossvein at the base of the wing median space can be seen.
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The visibly astonishing yellowish lower eyes and nice greenish thorax coloration is amazing.
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A glimpse of the female reproductive organs.

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.

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Oligoaeschna amata (female) & O.foliacea (male)

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata – female (Fӧrster, 1903) & Oligoaeschna foliacea – male (Lieftinck, 1968)
Common Name: Paddle-tail

On 25th September 2016, I was at the Central Catchment Nature Reserves and in the dense undergrowth of the thick vegetation, I found a male O. foliacea & a female O.amata.

These species are supposed to be very rare and only appeared in certain months of the year.

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Female O.amata.
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Side profile of the female.
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Another angle of the same female.
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Male O. foliacea. Both male O. foliacea and amata are very similar. It can be separated by the shape of it’s anal appendages.
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This should be a younger male.
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Side profile view.
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Heliaeschna crassa Krüger, 1899

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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This old male was taken in the chestnut forest in July 2016.
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A closer look at it’s appendages. Do you think it’s a H.crassa or H.idae?

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.

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Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903) – female Paddletail –

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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Female O. amata. It has green eyes and green markings on the thorax and abdomen.
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Side view – same individual. Notice the stripes on the thorax.
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Ventral view. The two racket-like appendages is intact.
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Another female individual. The wings are almost fully tinted in brown.
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Third female individual. This female has a brilliant pink-coloured thorax and orange abdomen with green markings. It has yellowish legs.
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Another dorsal view. Notice the tinted wings and paddle-tail.
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A glimpse at the under-side of the abdomen, which is more paler.
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Female’s ovipositor can be observed here.
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Hey!! “What are you looking at??”
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Gynacantha subinterrupta Rambur, 1842 – Matured male

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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A matured male. The pale bluish-green eyes are very attractive.
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Ventral side. Notice the blue and green markings on the thorax and abdomen.
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A rare glimpse of the male in flight.
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Lateral view.
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Hiding underneath a tree trunk.

In my opinion, amongst all the species of Aeshnidae dragonfly in Singapore, this species is the most colourful.

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Gynacantha subinterrupta – female ovipositing!!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

This female Gynacantha subinterrupta oviposits by touching the surface of a substrate, in this case, soil and lay her eggs and flying to another spot repeating the same action.

See the female in Action!

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The forest floor is littered with fallen leaves, seeds, tree trunk and branches. A great spot for the female to lay her eggs. The whole place will be flooded when the rain comes.
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A side profile of her in action.
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The shot is taken under very dim lighting. She chose a spot underneath a fallen tree trunk.
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Curling up her abdomen and oviposits into the soil substrate.

 

She did her egg’s laying all by herself. No male is seen guarding her when she oviposits. This place is flooded the next day after a torrential rain.

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Gynacantha basiguttata Selys, 1882 – A Male Galore!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata Selys,1882
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker

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.

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Male no.1 – resting under a fallen tree trunk.
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Male no. 1 – dorsal view. Notice the mud stricken abdomen.
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Lateral view.
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Male no.2 – A slightly young individual.
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Full Dorsal View.
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Male no.3 – Matured male with slightly worn wings.
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Male no.4 – Young and “fresh” male individual. Wings are clear.
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A close lateral view – showing great details of the head and thorax.
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Another dorsal shot.

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.