Heliaeschna uninervulata (F) Martin, 1909

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

Heliaeschna uninervulata aka lesser Nighthawker in the local context is considered to be very rare in Singapore. I have sighted this species a couple of times especially at the Central Catchment Nature Reserves.

The current female species is sighted outside the nature reserve at a place I frequently explore for Gynacantha sp. such a G.basiguttata and G.dohrni. I am quite surprise to find this species over there as my impression is that this species prefers pristine forest with running streams nearby.

Nevertheless I am more than happy to have captured this species again – my third female’s encountered.

Heliaeschna uninervulata-2
At a glance the female is considered to be quite small in size, compared to H.crassa.
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The wings are clear and the appendages are still intact.
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Abdomen is dark brownish with dark flecks and patches.
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Notice the very striking greenish yellow eyes and olive green thorax.
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Here the single crossvein at the base of the wing median space can be seen.
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The visibly astonishing yellowish lower eyes and nice greenish thorax coloration is amazing.
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A glimpse of the female reproductive organs.

I believe this species is quite widely distributed in Singapore as I had bumped into this species at no less than five occasions, all at different locations. The Central Catchment Nature Reserve is the best place to observe this species.


Oligoaeschna amata (female) & O.foliacea (male)

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.

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

Risiophlebia dohrni, Krüger, (Potbellied Elf) -1902

Family: Libellulidae
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.

The 1st female resting on twig near to the forest floor.
Same female. It has reddish brown eyes on top and yellowish below.
Top of the synthorax is metallic green.
This is the male potbellied elf. The abdomen is thinner and top of the eyes are more darker brown.
Look at the curvature of the abdomen!!
And the swollen 1-3 segments of the abdomen.
Handsome face shot. Very prominent yellow band on the upper lip?
Yellow strips on the sides of the thorax.
This is the 2nd female. Found a little further away from the forest pools and streams.
Dorsal view. Perched very near to the ground. Need a keen eye to spot it.
More reddish eyes and the nose part is metallic green.
Look at the swollen abdomen!!
Very beautiful species of dragonfly indeed.

I feel both happy and excited to see this species again in the Nature Reserve and hope it continues to survive in our forests.


Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903) – female Paddletail –

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903)
Common Name: Paddle-tail

Female O.amata is considered to be rare in Singapore. This species can only be found at a few localised areas in the Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Although rare, this species may appear in numbers, both males and females during the breeding seasons. During the day, it hides in the deep undergrowth in the secondary forests, and forages during dusk and dawn. I have seen female species of both O.amata and O.foliacea occurs during the breeding seasons.

This species normally rest on leaves or twig just above an observer’s eyes level. It prefers heavily shaded forests where it rests during the day. It is quite easy to approach this species if it is left undisturbed, although taking photograph in the dim environment may pose a challenge.

Of all the Aeshnide species of dragonfly that can be found in Singapore, this is amongst the most brilliantly coloured species.

Female O. amata. It has green eyes and green markings on the thorax and abdomen.
Side view – same individual. Notice the stripes on the thorax.
Ventral view. The two racket-like appendages is intact.
Another female individual. The wings are almost fully tinted in brown.
Third female individual. This female has a brilliant pink-coloured thorax and orange abdomen with green markings. It has yellowish legs.
Another dorsal view. Notice the tinted wings and paddle-tail.
A glimpse at the under-side of the abdomen, which is more paler.
Female’s ovipositor can be observed here.
Hey!! “What are you looking at??”

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.

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.
Hanging vertically on twig in the heavily shaded forest’s undergrowth. It is waiting to mate with the females which are probably nearby.
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.
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.
Here the anal appendages is shown. The superior appendages is leaf-shape like, and inferior appendage is longer than that of O.amata.
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.
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.


Oligoaeschna foliacea Lieftinck, 1968

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

Oligoaeschna foliacea is a very rare species of dragonfly which inhabit wooded swampy forests in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is crepuscular where it rests in the forests during the day, and forages for insects during dusk and dawn. This species like to rest vertically on twigs or leaves, generally slightly above an observer’s eye-level.

The male is rather rare but may appear in numbers during the breeding seasons. It can be told apart from the similar O. amata by the shape of it’s anal appendages. It’s superior appendages has a leaf-like profile view and it’s inferior appendage is longer than that of O.amata.

This is an older male. The thorax and abdomen is dark reddish brown. The superior appendages is moderately long, robust and leaf-like in profile view.
The wings are uniformly covered in amber-brown. Eyes are dark green in young individuals.
Lateral view with green markings on it’s thorax and abdomen.
The leaf-like anal appendages can be viewed here.

The best time to observe this species is in September to October in the Central Nature Reserve.


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.

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


Pericnemis stictica Hagen in Selys, 1863

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Pericnemis stictica
Common Name: Dryad

This is a large and distinctive damselfly that lives and breeds in the dense understorey  of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In fact, it is the largest of it’s family in South-East Asia.

In Singapore, it is mentioned that it has been recorded only once or twice a year in the past six years. It is primarily found in very dense vegetation in the forests. It mainly breeds in water-filled tree holes, buttress pans, bamboo stumps.

I have personally witnessed this species in the primary and secondary forests in Singapore, such as Upper Pierce Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Chestnut Avenue forest.

This species has very long abdomen. The sides of the thorax is yellowish green, and the dorsum is dark. The eyes are green and the legs are yellow. Male has dark brown pterostigma, whilst female has white pterostigma. Female in general is larger and more robust.

This species is rare and scarce in Singapore.

This large female was found in the Upper Pierce Reservoir forests. I was stunned when I first seen it. She was huge, in the context of the size of an average damselfly. She was flying with a bit of difficulty due to her heavy abdomen. She landed on the tip of a leaf with her abdomen hanging down. A stunning species. It has to be seen to believe!
This male was found in the damp, dark, understorey of the forests of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
This male was found in the Chestnut Avenue forests. There were forest pools and bamboo in the proximity of this individual. This species breeds in this kind of environments.
An enlarge shot of the above male.

Risiophlebia dohrni, Krüger, (Potbellied Elf) -1902

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Risiophlebia dohrni
Common Name: Potbellied Elf

I have published the very rare and elusive potbellied elf sometime ago in 2013. This was the 1st time I have seen a single male at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and a single female was also observed at another part of the nature reserve.

Due to the very rare status of this dragonfly, it was listed as endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book.

The male was found in the shaded forest pool in the Central Nature Reserve. Due to it’s very small size, about 24-25mm in body length, I would have certainly missed it, if not for the male Libellago hyalina that I am photographing nearby.

The male as shown below was perching very near to the water surface of the pool, probably waiting for the female for mating.

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The female, on the other hand, was found far away from any water source. She was perching quite high up on a twig in bright sunlight. I was quite surprised at the location where she was found because she was perching just beside the carpark.

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These photos of a mating pair was taken in 2013, which I have published here for the first time. The pair was found at a forest trail deep inside the nature reserve, and was found a few hundred metres away from the nearest forest pools.

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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.

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.
This should be a young female as she look quite “fresh”. The wings are not heavily tinted and the eyes are light brownish.
There is a T-shaped mark on the upper side of the fron.
The thoracic marking are unmistakeable of this species. The single cross vein could clearly be seen.
The leaf-shaped anal appendages are distinctive.
Legs, abdomen and anal appendages are mainly black.
I tried to get a vertical dorsal shot here although I was blocked by some fallen branches on the ground.
A slightly lateral view, showing the olive brown thorax.
Another dorsal view.
A beautifully stunning species!!