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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
A sub-adult male. The thorax is slated blue with some yellow streaks at the sides of the abdomen.
A female pornothemis starrei.
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.
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.
3. Mortonagrion arthuri ( Arthur’s Midget)
Mortonagrion arthuri is also a mangrove species and could be found at Pulau Ubin and Sungei Cina.
Although not exclusively associate with mangrove habitats, the following two species of dragonfly could also be found there.
It is important to preserve our limited mangrove habitats so the rare species of plants and animals could continue to thrive there.
Scientific Name: Aciagrion hisopa
Common Name: Blue Slim
Aciagrion hisopa is a very rare and small damselfly which has rarely been encountered in Singapore. It’s habitats open shallow and weedy ponds and drains in disturbed areas. According to record, one female was found in Normanton Park in 1986. A pair was found at Chestnut Ave in 2009. There are no other records since then.
In May 2016, I was at the Central Nature Reserve and accidentally bumped into a Aciagrion hisopa, female in the bushes. The area was very remote and isolated, sparely forested and near to an open wetland.
It was fluttering around the bushes looking for it’s meal. The damselfly was so small that it’s almost impossible to track it as it moves around the bushes.
Aciaprion hisopa is very similar to Pseudagrion species, except that it has a lighter build and the wings are narrower. The spotted female has the sides of the thorax blue with distinctive black and orange stripes on the dorsum. The last three abdominal segments are blue. The eyes are green.
Here is the damselfly resting at the tip of the leaf inside the forest.
Although very rare, I believe this species can still be found in our vast forest reserves.
Scientific Name: Pseudagrion rubriceps
Common Name: Orange-faced Sprite
According to the book of dragonflies by Mr. Tang, this very rare damselfly has been found only at two locations in Singapore. These sightings were at Toa Payoh Town Park, and at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
My sighting of this species were at a very remote location at the western part of Singapore. The place has a small running stream surrounded by short and weedy vegetation.
The male has a striking bright orange face with olive green on the dorsum. It has beautiful light blue on the sides of the synthorax and blue markings on segment 10.
It is sad that this species can no longer be found at Toa Payoh Town Park, but elsewhere in Singapore, it can still be found.
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis minima
Common Name: NA
As mentioned in my previous posts, I have encountered and taken photos of adult male and various forms of female form from the very young to full adult and the aged. On October 2015, I have come across a very attractive sub-adult female. From the physical appearance, this female is very much the same in size and colour as the full adult female, except that the colour on the thorax is more yellowish and the two stripes at the synthorax are yellow.
This female individual was found near the edge of the forest’s wetland. Sadly, this female was preyed by a robber-fly after I had taken most of my shots.
This small midget has largely been overlooked by observers as they are so tiny. It is hope that they will permanently make this patch of wetland their home.
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis minima
Common Name: NA
Agriocnemis minima is a tiny and unrecorded species of damselfly that is only recently being discovered in Singapore. I have taken shots of males and young and aged females at a freshwater swamp in the Western part of Singapore.
The adult female has eluded me until very recently when I bumped into this female. After doing some research on the internet, it became apparent to me that this individual should be the adult female form of this species. It is very rare and I have only seen one individual of this form.
The eyes are brown on top and green below. It has yellow pterostigmata, and has yellow stripes on the synthorax. The sides of the thorax and abdomen are green and the dorsal side of the abdomen is black.
This species prefer to be in the open, grassy areas at the edge of the flooded wetland. It is probably the tiniest species of damselfly in Singapore with the abdomen plus appendages measuring just 14.5mm.
Scientific Name: Pericnemis stictica
Common Name: Dryad
This is a large and distinctive damselfly that lives and breeds in the dense understorey of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In fact, it is the largest of it’s family in South-East Asia.
In Singapore, it is mentioned that it has been recorded only once or twice a year in the past six years. It is primarily found in very dense vegetation in the forests. It mainly breeds in water-filled tree holes, buttress pans, bamboo stumps.
I have personally witnessed this species in the primary and secondary forests in Singapore, such as Upper Pierce Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Chestnut Avenue forest.
This species has very long abdomen. The sides of the thorax is yellowish green, and the dorsum is dark. The eyes are green and the legs are yellow. Male has dark brown pterostigma, whilst female has white pterostigma. Female in general is larger and more robust.
Onychargia atrocyana is a very widely distributed damselfly species. It is distributed throughout South-East Asia, India and China. In Singapore, this species is uncommon and found mainly in densely vegetated and leafy-bottomed pools, marshes in swampy forested areas. I have personally come across this species at Chestnut avenue biking trail and the densely forested area in Mandai.
As this species breeds in leafy pools and marshes, it is often seen mating in tandem in these habitats.
Both males and females are stoutly built with short abdomen and long legs. Older males are blackish with hues of purple on the thorax. Young males have thick light yellowish stripes on the sides of the thorax.
Females thorax are also dark with two yellowish stripes on the dorsum. The abdomen is dark on the dorsal side and yellowish on the ventral side.
Family: Coenagrionidae Scientific Name: Archibasis rebeccae Common Name: Rebecca’s Sprite
Archibasis rebeccae is a very rare damselfly species that has been recorded only once in Singapore in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 2009. This species appears to be endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. It occurs in lowland primary forests and streams.
This individual was taken on a trip to MacRitchie Reservoir’s forest in 2013. It was found along a quiet trail along Sime forest.
Male of this species are lighter blue. The appearance is very similar to A. melanocyana, and A. incisura. Segments 8 and 9 of the abdomen are blue. There are tiny blue spots on the dorsum of segment 10 of the abdomen. The superior appendages are strongly clubbed.
There is an interesting article about this species by Robin Ngiam.
It is frustratingly difficult to identify this species of damselfly. I hope my Id is correct.