Mortonagrion arthuri Fraser, 1942

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Mortonagrion arthuri
Common Name: Arthur’s Midget

Mortonagrion arthuri is a locally rare species of damselfly which is confined to mangrove habitats around Singapore, particularly Pulau Ubin, Pulau Semakau and Sungei Cina.

Their natural habitats are inlets of mangrove swamps where they like to rest on the tip of an emergent twig of mangrove trees.

Male has two color forms.  Blue form and yellow form. The blue form has blue stripes on the side of the thorax and blue postocular spots; while the yellow form has similar features but in yellow. Male also has distinct blue spots on the segment 8 of it’s abdomen.

Females are duller in color. It has brown thorax with similar stripes to the male. Young female also has the distinct spots on it’s abdomen. Older female has the spots completely obscured.

In general, males of mortonagrion arthuri are more rarer than females.

Female mortonagrion arthuri. Notice the blue stripes and blue spots on the abdomen. This specimen was found at Pulau Ubin.
Same female as above.
Another female at Pulau Ubin. This is a much older female where the abdomen is almost black with no visible spots on it’s abdomen.
Another old female. The end of the abdomen are almost covered with earth. A sign of ovipositing on muddy soil.
This female was found at Sungei cina. An old female with a muddy abdomen.
Same female as above. This picture shows a brownish thorax with yellowish strips and postocular spots.
An interesting view of the front which shows the dark brownish eyes and black face. Notice the “dracula-like” mouth!.
Arthur's Midget2-1
Another female at sungei cina. This is a younger female with distinct blue spots at it’s abdomen.
Arthur's Midget1
A lateral view of the above female.

Males of this species are generally hard to find. I have seen a couple of females at Pulau Ubin but not a single male.

I have better luck at Sungei Cina, where I managed to captured a couple of males both in blue and yellow form.

Arthur's Midget-male6
Blue form male #1. It has distinct blue stripes and spots on it’s abdomen. Also notice the unique shape of it’s postocular spots
Male #1. side view.
Male #1. Lateral view
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Male #1. Frontal shot showing the interesting facial features.
Male #2. Young male, blue form.
Male #2. Dorsal view. Notice the unique postocular eye spots, slim blue stripes and blue marks on the abdomen’s segment 8.
Male #2. Appendages are black The superior appendages are shorter than the inferiors.
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Male #3, yellow form. taken against the swampy mangrove.
Male #3. Lateral view. Notice the small spots at the side of the abdomen.
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Male #4 yellow form. Why is this specimen looks abit greenish in color?
Male #4. yellowish / greenish male form.
Male #4.

In Singapore, not many photos of this species has been available in the internet. I hope these photos could add to the archive of the diversity of odonata found in Singapore’s natural environment.


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) * 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.


Aethriamanta aethra Ris, 1912 (Adult Male)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Aethriamanta aethra
Common Name: Blue Adjutant

Blue Adjutant is a small and inconspicuous Libellulid. The Body length is  about 27-30mm. It is rare in Singapore and found at open swamp forest and well-vegetated ponds in open country.

I have seen this species at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves fresh water ponds; Chestnut Forest; and Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. For adult male, it is generally bluish in colour on the thorax and part of the abdomen. The last four segments of the male’s abdomen are dark and a very distinctive dark brown patches at the base of the hind wings.

Young male is light brown in colour with dark markings at the thorax.  Wind Venation of this species is open.


Adult male at Chestnut Forest
Adult male at Chestnut Forest
Adult male at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West
Adult male at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West
Adult male at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West
Adult male at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West

Refer to Pictures of Young Male here.


Rhyothemis triangularis Kirby, 1889

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Rhyothemis triangularis
Common Name: Sapphire Flutterer

Sapphire Flutterer, an uncommon dragonfly, tend to inhabit ponds, streams, and reservoirs. So far, I have only encountered this species a couple of times, at MacRitchie Reservoir.

This species is very distinctive and unmistakeable in appearance. Males and females are similar. Eyes reddish brown on top and dark brown below. Thorax and abdomen are dark metallic blue. Most distinctive are a pair of wings that have a broad and deep purplish blue patches. Males tend to be brighter and females more darker in colour.

R. triangularis is the smallest Rhyothemis species that can be found in Singapore.



Vestalis amethystina Lieftinck, 1965

Family: Calopterygidae
Scientific Name: Vestalis amethystina
Common Name: Common Flashwing

This is a relatively large damselfly, the total body length is about 50-56mm and commonly found near forest streams at Central Catchment Nature Reserves and Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. So far, I have seen this species at MacRitchie reservoir -along the board walk, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Chestnut Ave forest, and Dairy Farm Nature Reserves.

Males and females look quite alike, the main difference is their anal appendages. Both has metallic green body with very long and thin legs.  It has a pair of transparent wings which show off a sparkling bluish purple iridescence from reflection from the light.


This species tend to occur on smaller streams in the primary forests.

Acisoma panorpoides Rambur, 1842

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Acisoma panorpoides
Common Name: Trumpet Tail

This dragonfly is commonly found at open disturbed habitats including grassy swamps, edges of the reservoirs with short grassy vegetation, ponds, and drains. So far, I have seen this species at places like MacRitchie reservoir, Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West, and small streams at Central Nature reserves.

As it’s name suggest, this species is unmistakable by it’s unique shape of it’s abdomen. Male has light blue eyes and body. Female is similarly shaped and patterned, but the colour of the eyes and body is more greenish.


A mating pair
A mating pair
This male suddenly grab this female by the neck and try very hard to mate with her. After several unsuccessful attempts, she finally break off from him without mating.
This male suddenly grab this female by the neck and try very hard to mate with her. After several unsuccessful attempts, she finally break off from him without mating.

This dragonfly is quite small in size and very inconspicuous when they perched among grassy vegetation.

They are very aggressive dragonfly and will eat all kinds of  smaller insects, including damselflies.

A female eatng a damselfly.
A female eatng a damselfly.

Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Indothemis limbata
Common Name: Restless Demon

This species has been listed in the Singapore Red Data Book as critically endangered species. It is classified in Mr. Tang’s book as a Rare species which occurs in open marshes with emergent plants. So far, I have seen this species only at MacRitchie reservoirs.

Generally, the male of this species is quite dark. The thorax is dark-blue whilst the abdomen is lighter blue. The extremities of the wing tips are tinted with dark-brown, and there is a dark patch at the base of the hindwings, a smaller one at the base of the forewings.

The males are very active in the early morning and midday, chasing away rivals whilst establish their territories.  Female is paler, and so far, has not been observed in Singapore.


Trithemis festiva (Rambur, 1842)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Trithemis festiva
Common Name: Indigo Dropwing

Trithemis festiva is a very attractive dragonfly which inhabits fast flowing streams through open grasslands.

Male has dark blue synthorax and bluish abdomen with orange streaks. There is a brownish patch at the hindwing base. Superficially, male looks like Indothemis limbata, but lacks dark wing tips. Female is brownish yellow with dark markings on the thorax. Females are often found inlands, tree tops and therefore rarely seen.

Female - dorsal view
Female – dorsal view

Podolestes orientalis Selys, 1862

Family: Megapodagrionidae
Scientific Name: Podolestes orientalis
Common Name: Blue-spotted Flatwing

Blue-spotted flatwing is an inconspicuous, moderately robust damselfly which spread it’s wings flat when resting. It is commonly found in lowland swampy forest and small streams in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Male has variegated blue markings on it’s thorax. Female has similar markings but duller. Immature adult has white pterostigmata.

Mating pair
Mating pair
A young adult with white pterostigmata
A young adult with white pterostigmata