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Oligoaeschna Sp. O.Amata & Foliacea

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata – female (Fӧrster, 1903) & Oligoaeschna foliacea – male (Lieftinck, 1968)
Common Name: Paddle-tail

On 25th September 2016, I was at the Central Catchment Nature Reserves and in the dense undergrowth of the thick vegetation, I found a male O. foliacea & a female O.amata.

These species are supposed to be very rare and only appeared in certain months of the year.

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Female O.amata.
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Side profile of the female.
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Another angle of the same female.
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Male O. foliacea. Both male O. foliacea and amata are very similar. It can be separated by the shape of it’s anal appendages.
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This should be a younger male.
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Side profile view.
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Heliaeschna crassa Krüger, 1899

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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This old male was taken in the chestnut forest in July 2016.
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A closer look at it’s appendages. Do you think it’s a H.crassa or H.idae?

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.

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Gynacantha subinterrupta – female ovipositing!!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

This female Gynacantha subinterrupta oviposits by touching the surface of a substrate, in this case, soil and lay her eggs and flying to another spot repeating the same action.

See the female in Action!

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The forest floor is littered with fallen leaves, seeds, tree trunk and branches. A great spot for the female to lay her eggs. The whole place will be flooded when the rain comes.
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A side profile of her in action.
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The shot is taken under very dim lighting. She chose a spot underneath a fallen tree trunk.
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Curling up her abdomen and oviposits into the soil substrate.

 

She did her egg’s laying all by herself. No male is seen guarding her when she oviposits. This place is flooded the next day after a torrential rain.

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Gynacantha basiguttata Selys, 1882 – A Male Galore!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata Selys,1882
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker

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.

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Male no.1 – resting under a fallen tree trunk.
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Male no. 1 – dorsal view. Notice the mud stricken abdomen.
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Lateral view.
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Male no.2 – A slightly young individual.
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Full Dorsal View.
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Male no.3 – Matured male with slightly worn wings.
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Male no.4 – Young and “fresh” male individual. Wings are clear.
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A close lateral view – showing great details of the head and thorax.
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Another dorsal shot.

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.

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Oligoaeschna foliacea Lieftinck, 1968 – Stunning Adult Male!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna foliacea Lieftinck 1968
Common Name: Leaftail

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.

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Even from far, this species stands out. Look at it’s green eyes and striking green markings on it’s thorax and abdomen. It curls it’s abdomen up, probably in preparation for mating.
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Hanging vertically on twig in the heavily shaded forest’s undergrowth. It is waiting to mate with the females which are probably nearby.
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A medium size Aeshnidae speies. Total body length is about 60mm, which is slightly smaller than the more common G.dohrni and G.subinterrupta. Very striking green eyes and thorax and abdomen are black with strong green markings.
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Dorsal view showing the splendid green and black dragonfly. The wings are slightly tinted with pale amber. Notice it has only three cells in the discoidal triangle on both wings.
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Here the anal appendages is shown. The superior appendages is leaf-shape like, and inferior appendage is longer than that of O.amata.
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In A.G.Orr’s book of dragonflies of P.Malaysia and Singapore, it is said that the striking green markings is easily lost in preserved specimens. To appreciate it’s full coloration, it is best view via a life specimen.
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Lateral view of the male. Notice the side of the thorax which is green with black stripe.

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.

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Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903) * (A female with broken-off appendages)

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

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The female hiding in the undergrowth.
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It’s appendages has been broken-off.
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It has apple-green eyes. The pair of wings are tinted brown extensively.
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It has a “cone-shape” abdomen which tapers from the base to the tip of the abdomen.
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View from the side. Look at the green transverse flecks on the abdomen.
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Female reproduction organs are in view.
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A rare glimpse of the ventral side.
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Lateral view. The side of the thorax is greenish with stripes.

This species is known to exist in Borneo. It appears to be absent from Peninsular Malaysia.

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Heliaeschna Uninervulata Martin, 1909 – Sighting of a female again.

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Heliaeschna uninervulata
Common Name: Lesser Night Hawker

This was my second sighting of a female Heliaeschna Uninervulata in the secondary forest of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

This female was perching on a branch slightly above my head. The surrounding was a densely forested vegetation with a small stream running through it.

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My first sighting of the female. She was perching on this vertical branch and stay there for as long as the time I was there. There is a white patch on the left side of the lower wing, probably a stain from the dirt when mating or ovipositing.
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This should be a young female as she look quite “fresh”. The wings are not heavily tinted and the eyes are light brownish.
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There is a T-shaped mark on the upper side of the fron.
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The thoracic marking are unmistakeable of this species. The single cross vein could clearly be seen.
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The leaf-shaped anal appendages are distinctive.
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Legs, abdomen and anal appendages are mainly black.
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I tried to get a vertical dorsal shot here although I was blocked by some fallen branches on the ground.
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A slightly lateral view, showing the olive brown thorax.
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Another dorsal view.
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A beautifully stunning species!!
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Heliaeschna Uninervulata Martin, 1909 – An Old Male

Family: Aeshnidae
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.

An aged male. The left side of the hindwing is partially torn.
The pattern marking on the dorsum of the thorax and 1st and 2nd abdominal segments is unmistakeably that of this species.
The anal appendages is out of focus, but the shape is still discernible from this picture.
As in some of my previous pictures, the male has it’s tail slightly raised. The legs are dark.
The luminous blue specks on the dorsum of the thorax are especially striking.
Lateral view – Notice the eyes are lime green on top and yellowish below. The sides of the thorax are greenish.
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HELIAESCHNA UNINERVULATA MARTIN – 2nd encounter of a male ♂

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.

The male with distinct anal appendages and thoracic marking.
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Eyes are brownish on top and yellowish below.
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Notice the hyaline wings and T-shaped mark on the fron.
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Side of the thorax is olive-green, ventral side of the abdomen is dark, legs are dark.
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Another side view showing full view of the legs and thorax.
Notice the leaf-shaped cerci.
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Full dorsal view of the male.
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Notice the two blue spots marking on the abdomen, similar to the female.
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Final view of the male.
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HELIAESCHNA UNINERVULATA MARTIN – ♀

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

The male can be found here.

Side view- notice the leaf-like long and broad cerci. Both are intact.
The dark abdomen is very prominent.
Notice the unique blue markings on the abdomen.
An enlarge shot of the marking pattern on the synthorax and the first two segments of the abdomen.
Clearer view of the blue markings on the abdomen. Legs are darken distally.
Check out the cerci!!
Wings are slightly tinted brownish. The olive-green thorax can be seen in this photo.
Big eyes that are brownish on top and yellowish below.
A final dorsal view. A beautiful species.