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.
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.
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.
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.
Oligoaeschna foliacea is one species of Aeshnidae that is seldom seen by the dragonfly enthusiast as not only it is rare, but also it is crepuscular, which means it is active during dawn and dusk. During the day, it rests deep in the wooded swampy forests, normally hanging vertically on leaf or twig just above an observer’s eye level.
During one of my usual dragonfly trip to the North-Western part of Singapore’s nature reserve, I have the chance to witness a splendid male in it’s full adult coloration.
This is one of the most stunning species of dragonflies in my opinion. We are lucky that it can still be seen in Singapore. Wish that this species can continue to thrive in our nature reserves.
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903)
Common Name: Paddle-tail
Oligoaeschna amata is a very rare species of dragonfly which has occasionally been sighted at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is thought that this species was believed to be extinct in Singapore but recent sightings has proved to be otherwise.
This species of dragonfly seems to inhabit wooded swampy forests and is crepuscular. It rests by day in the dense undergrowth and forages before dusk. Female has long racket-like appendages which often lost through breakage.
A recent trip to the CCNR has awarded me with a glimpse of the elusive female resting in the undergrowth of the secondary forest.
This species is known to exist in Borneo. It appears to be absent from Peninsular Malaysia.
Scientific Name: Heliaeschna uninervulata
Common Name: Lesser Night Hawker
I was at Pulau Ubin in early June 2015 when I accidentally bumped into a pretty “large” Aeshnid-like dragonfly resting at the forested vegetation near to the main road. The time was about 4 plus in the afternoon and apparently this male individual was not very active then.
After a couple of shots, it becomes obvious to me that this is a male H. uninervulata (my third sighting of this species in Singapore). The unique features of this species is the single cross vein on the wings and the incision-shaped anal appendages (for males).
This species is very rare in Singapore and the sighting at Pulau Ubin could be a new record found at the location.
The discovery of the heliaeschna uninervulata female has excited me, and prompted me to hunt for this species of dragonfly again on the next day. To my surprise, this time I discovered a male.
The male was perching fairly low on a tree branch slightly above my eye level.
As you can see, this is a pristine male with very brilliant colours. I have to use flash as the surrounding is quite dark. The identity of this species is unmistakeable, especially for it’s single cross vein and the leaf-shaped appendages.
Family: Aeshnidae Scientific Name: Heliaeschna uninervulata Common Name: Lesser Night Hawker
I was both astonished and delighted for the fact that I have captured the very rare female individual of Heliaeschna Uninervulata in one of my trips to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The female individual was perching on a tree branch about 3 metres from the ground. From far, it looks like a small aeshnid, with a wing span of only 40-44mm. The tail section of the abdomen was tilted at an angle of about 90 degree throughout the whole duration of my photographing. The place where it was found was heavily shaded within the secondary forests.
Here are some of the features of this species:
the eyes are light-brownish on top and yellowish below
the thorax is olive-green
legs are darken distally
there is only one cross vein in the median space on both wings
both wings are slightly tinted brown
the abdomen is dark brown with speckles of green
the leaf-like cerci is broad and long and for this individual, is intact