Death of a Orthetrum chrysis duo

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.

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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.

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

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.

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

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


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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Scarlet Pygmy – Singapore’s smallest dragonfly

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Nannophya pygmaea
Common Name: Scarlet Pygmy

This small dragonfly can be found in most habitats that are close to water, such as wetlands, swamps, and small streams. They prefer opened and exposed vegetation near to water with adequate sunlight.

Here are some shots of male, female and immature male.

“Red Chili”- Adult male.
Adult Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
A mating pair.

Raphismia bispina (Hagen, 1867) * Male

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

This is an uncommon species of dragonfly which inhabits mangrove swamps. It can be found at Changi, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Mandai, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and other offshore islands. It is one of the dragonfly species that live and breeds in the salt water of back mangroves swamps and the surrounding vegetation.

The male Raphismia bispina looks like a smaller version of a Brachydiplax chalybea. It is in fact much smaller, lighter, and has a clear wing base. The male tend to perch for long period of time defending their territories against rival males in the mangrove swamps.

The thorax of the male is slate blue with mottled yellow marking on the sides. The eyes are dark brown on top and yellow below. The abdomen is slate blue with the last four segments black. There are two short spines behind the legs and beneath the thorax.

Adult male. The thorax and abdomen is covered with blue pruinescense.
Another male. Dorsal view with well-defined segments of blue and black.
Same male.
Third male. The wings are clear.
Third male. Lateral view. The two short spines can be seen in this shot.

Sub-adult male. The series of whitish streaks on the abdomen against the slate blue and black body is striking.

Dorsal view of the sub-adult male.
Well-defined markings and streaks on the thorax and abdomen.
Eyes are brown on top and greenish below. Frons is metallic blue.
Lateral view.

Another sub-adult but slightly more matured male. It has lesser streaks on the sides of the abdomen than the earlier male.

Dorsal view.
The thorax and abdomen is slightly pruinosed.
Dorsal view.
Young adult male.
Young adult male.
Young adult male.

In Singapore, this species can be found whole year round in the mangrove swamps. I have seen them at Pulau Ubin and SBWR. A small and inconspicuous dragonfly but not difficult to find in the mangrove swamps. At times, they could be quite abundant.


Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Brachythemis contaminata
Common Name: Common Amberwing

Brachythemis contaminata is a common species in Singapore. It can be found in many places in Singapore such as open ponds, reservoirs, both in urban areas as well as nature reserves. I have come into contact this species at Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore Botanic Garden, Gardens by the Bay, and Kranji Reservoir.

Adult males has wings that are tinted with deep amber and have orange veins and pterostigmata. The abdomen is in deep orange. Immature male is light brown with yellowish pterostigmata. Female is very similar to the immature male. It has wings that are clear, and yellowish brown thorax and abdomen.

This species can tolerate a certain amount of polluted waters. They are a sun-loving species which are active all day until after sunset.

Adult male
Immature male
Immature male
Immature male

Orchithemis pulcherrima Brauer, 1878 (Red Form, Male & Female)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orchithemis pulcherrima
Common Name: Variable Sentinel

Orchithemis pulcherrima is a common dragonfly which inhabits swampy forests within the nature reserves. It can be found usually under heavily shaded forest reserves in MacRitchie Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and many other forested reserves.

This is a narrow winged species. The abdomen is broad and tapers towards the tip. Male has two colour forms. Red form with and without white markings and dark form with pale markings near it’s base. The genitalia on the ventral side of segment 2 of the male is very prominent.

This is the red form without white markings which is very common.

This male individual has a yellowish thorax which is quite distinct.

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This male has a dark reddish abdomen with white markings at base of abdomen. This form is not normally seen.

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Female with red abdomen is rare. I have seen this female form only three times in Singapore.



Camacinia gigantea (Brauer, 1867)

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

Camacinia gigantea is a large and rare dragonfly which inhabits large ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Although rare, it can be quite common locally especially near edges of forest reserves. I have seen this species at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Avenue Forests, Mandai Forests.

This is possibly the largest dragonfly in the Libellulidae family.

The male has a dark red thorax, abdomen, and the red patches also cover about 2/3 of the wings. It is not uncommon to see several males fly rapidly over stagnant ponds or forest pools, often engage in territorial fight. They prefer to hang vertically at their favourite perch and ward off intruders.

Matured male -1
Matured male -2
Maturing male – some yellow patches can still be seen on the wings.
Young male with brilliant red.
Immature males are yellowish in colour.
Dorsal view – note the pattern on the male’s wings.

Female is slightly stouter and larger than the male. The wings and body are pale brownish in colour. Aged female can appear to be dark red as in males. Female is rarer and often not sighted. They appear only when mating and ovipositing.

At a glance, this female appear to look like a male. However, the abdomen is thicker and the female anal appendages is clearly seen.
Another female. Note the slightly yellowish on the red patches wings.
Aged female with brownish thorax, and reddish wings.

I used to see this species at a drainage concrete structure at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. However, the sighting of this species is less common now after the vegetation was cleared from the water-logged structure.