Pornothemis starrei Lieftinck, 1948

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

Mangrove Marshall is predominantly a mangrove species of rare dragonfly that can be found in mangrove habitat in most part of Singapore coastal areas. I have encountered this species at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Pulau Ubin, and at the mangrove swamps at Western part of Singapore.

The male has a metallic black body with light bluish pruinescence on the dorsum of the thorax. It also has markings that look like “stars” on the synthorax, that differs between individuals. The abdomen is thin, dark and curved when view from the side It has a pair of attractive greenish-blue eyes.

Females are olive in colour on the sides of the thorax and are rarely encountered.

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Pornothemis starrei, male. Notice the dark green eyes and the predominantly black body.
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A younger individual male. The wings are clear. The light bluish pruinescence on the dorsum is clearly visible.
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Another male. Notice the unique markings on the synthorax of each individual.
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This male has a more prominent blue pruinescence on the dorsum and first 3 segments of the abdomen. It has a more rounded markings on the synthorax.
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Yet another male with an overall black abdomen. You can also notice the slight curvature of the abdomen.
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An old female with an olive body. It has the same appearance as the male but more stouter and bigger.
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Another female in dorsal view. Notice the hyaline wings and a little patch of brown at the base of the wings.
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A younger female in lateral view. The hind legs are quite long, and notice the prominent flags on each side of the abdominal segment 8.
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Very young female. The body is golden brown in colour with yellowish strips and markings on the abdomen.
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In live specimen, this young female has a very striking golden hue to her body.  
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Side view of the above female.
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Another young female in dorsal view.
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Profile view of the above female.

I have caught many males and females in pixel over a span of a few weeks of this elegant and rare species at the mangrove swamps of Singapore. One has to see the real specimen to appreciate the beauty of the species.

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Camacinia gigantea (Brauer, 1867)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Camacinia gigantea
Common Name: Sultan

Camamcinia gigantea is a large dragonfly species that lives in open ponds, quarries and occasionally, forest pools.

I have observed this species many times, sometimes up to four to five individuals at the forest fringe at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. It frequents flooded forest pools and may wander far from the water source.

It can co-habit peacefully with other smaller dragonfly species but may chase away rivals within a small territory.

The below photos are taken at a forest in the Mandai area where a small forest pools was formed after heavy rain and attracts a female and two male Sultans, a few Neurothemis fluctuans, a male Orthetrum testaceum and a male Potamarcha congener.

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Two rival males perching on a twig anticipating for a female arrival
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One male tries to dislodge another from his perch.
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He has successfully mated with the female upon her arrival. The other rival male has to wait in despair.
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Another photo of the two males perching side-by-side, one on top, and the other below.
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The same couple moves to the favorite perch while in tandem.
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This photo shows the smaller, but otherwise same coloration of the Neurothemis fluctuans in the background.
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You can observe the difference of the two species by the pattern of the wings and size.

Although rare, Camacinia gigantea may occur in numbers when there are adequate water source and at certain time of the year. It is a delight to watch them fly gracefully over the surface of the water and then perch peacefully at their favorite spot.

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Risiophlebia dohrni, Krüger, (Potbellied Elf) -1902

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Risiophlebia dohrni
Common Name: Potbellied Elf

Listed as endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book, Potbellied Elf is one of the most rare species of dragonflies that can still be found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is very small and is often found near or in shaded forest pools and nearby streams and vegetation.

In July, I have encountered two females and a single male in the Nature Reserve.

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The 1st female resting on twig near to the forest floor.
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Same female. It has reddish brown eyes on top and yellowish below.
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Top of the synthorax is metallic green.
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This is the male potbellied elf. The abdomen is thinner and top of the eyes are more darker brown.
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Look at the curvature of the abdomen!!
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And the swollen 1-3 segments of the abdomen.
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Handsome face shot. Very prominent yellow band on the upper lip?
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Yellow strips on the sides of the thorax.
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This is the 2nd female. Found a little further away from the forest pools and streams.
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Dorsal view. Perched very near to the ground. Need a keen eye to spot it.
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More reddish eyes and the nose part is metallic green.
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Look at the swollen abdomen!!
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Very beautiful species of dragonfly indeed.

I feel both happy and excited to see this species again in the Nature Reserve and hope it continues to survive in our forests.

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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.

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Pornothemis starrei Lieftinck, 1948 – Young Female

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

Pornothemis starrei is a mangrove species of dragonfly that is quite rare in Singapore. I have seen this species at SBWR, Pulau Ubin and the mangrove swamp at northern part of Singapore.

The male is slightly metallic black with greenish-blue eyes. Female was rarely photographed.

Recently, I have captured some female photos and here is one of the younger female.

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Female Pornothemis starrei – males are occasionally encountered, females are very rare.
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The eyes are greenish-blue. Wings are clear.
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Legs and abdomen are black.
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Body is olive colour. She has prominent flaps on the side of segment 8.
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An easy species to photograph as long as it’s not disturbed.
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A stunning beautiful species.
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Chalybeothemis fluviatilis Lieftinck, 1933 – A close-up shot!

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Chalybeothemis fluviatilis
Common Name: Green-eyed Percher

I was always fascinated by this species of dragonfly due to it’s shinning green eyes. It is an uncommon and localise species which are found in exposed weedy banks of streams, rivers and near the banks of reservoirs. I have seen this species at just three locations; 1) near the banks of MacRitchie Reservoir; 2) at the big pond at Kent Ridge Park; and 3) at the open pond at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

This male was taken at the last location. A pleasant surprise for me as this was the first time I have seen this species at the location.

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The most striking feature of this specie is the green eyes.
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It’s sun-tanning on the concrete barrier structure.
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Just one single lonely male.
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Dorsal view – A handsome species.
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Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Diplacodes trivialis
Common Name: Blue Percher

This small species of dragonfly is one of the more common dragonfly that can be found in Singapore. It frequents open marshes in disturbed areas, wastelands, and fringes of the forest reserves. This species sometimes wonder far from the water source.

I found this species to be quite common along the bicycle track near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, at the open grassland at Chestnut Avenue, at the old Kanji Nature trail, and even at the Garden by the Bay.

The male is blue in colour and as it matures, pruinose develops, and it becomes powdery blue in colour. The abdomen segment 9 to 10 is black and the anal appendages is white. It has blue eyes.

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A lateral view of the male. This individual is heavily pruinosed.
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Eyes are blue and the whole body is powdery blue in colour.
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Last two segments of the abdomen is black and anal appendages is white as seen here.
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Same male as above.

Female has pale green yellowish markings on it’s black body. The eyes are brownish on top and yellow below. Young females are more yellowish in colour.

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An adult female with greenish yellow eyes.
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Another female in lateral view.
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Same female as above.
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This is a slightly younger female. The thorax is more yellowish.
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Dorsal view of the above female. There are brown patches at the base of the wings.
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This is a very young female.

This species often flies horizontally and very near to the ground. They are skittish and sensitive to any movements in the surrounding. Not an easy species to approach.

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Raphismia bispina (Hagen, 1867) * Female

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Raphismia bispina
Common Name: Mangrove Dwarf

Female Raphismia bispina has a black thorax and abdomen and covered with mottled yellow markings on the sides of the thorax and conspicuous yellow streaks along the sides of the abdomen. As the female matures, the markings on the thorax and abdomen are covered with pruinose.

It seems that females are more commonly encounter than the males.

This is a young female with hyaline wings, and clear yellow streaks along the abdomen.

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Another young female.

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Slightly aged matured female. Markings on the thorax and abdomen are obscured.

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Another older female.

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