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?
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I feel both happy and excited to see this species again in the Nature Reserve and hope it continues to survive in our forests.
Two male Orthetrum chrysis was seen caught in the submerged mosses and drowned. What causes this to happen? My guess is that they were rival males, chasing one another in territory fight and accidentally got caught and entangled by the submerged vegetation. A sad demise for the voracious killer.
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.
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.
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.
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.